NRL Round 12 2017: New Zealand Warriors down depleted Brisbane Broncos in Auckland

Shaun Johnson helped the Warriors return to winning ways with a 28-10 victory over a depleted Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.

Having been abysmal in their previous games against the Panthers and Dragons, the Warriors desperately needed a win against the Wayne Bennett coached side, to ease the pressure on the players and management is nothing else.

Well that's exactly what they got as Johnson was in sensational form at halfback to steer his side to an impressive victory.

With Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Anthony Milford, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday all on Origin duty, it couldn't have been a better time for the Warriors to face the Broncos.

True, the Broncos did make more mistakes than you'd usually expect from them, but that shouldn't take the gloss off this Warriors performance, sans Jacob Lillyman.

They took the game to the Broncos up the middle, with Ben Matulino and James Gavet both putting in superb shifts and as Johnson so often demonstrates, when the pack is going well he can bring out his magic.

Defensively the Warriors were also much improved, the line speed was good and they kept their shape.

Broncos fullback Jordan Kahu, who has made a number of shocking errors this season, set the tone for the game by knocking the ball on when attempting to catch a bomb in the second minute.

It gave the Warriors a great attacking opportunity, but Bodene Thompson fumbled the ball to hand possession back to the Broncos.

Another attacking chance was wasted when Shaun Johnson threw the ball straight to Broncos centre Tautau Moga a few minutes later.

But in the 12th minute the Warriors were able to hold onto the ball when close to the Broncos' line and Blake Ayshford scooted in on the right edge, thanks to a fake pass from Johnson that created the opening.

The next Warriors try was sparked by a 50m run from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad after catching a bomb. From that Johnson turned on the magic and ran in the rest of the way to score.

Nicoll-Klokstad lost control of the ball when trying to ground it for a try in the 25th minute, but two minutes before the break Roger Tuivasa-Sheck just about managed to retain possession off a Johnson grubber to increase the Warriors' lead.

They went into the sheds up 16-0 and surely the Warriors couldn't blow another game with a second half meltdown?

A try to Ken Maumalo three minutes into the second half eased doubts for a while of that happening, but in the 52nd minute the Broncos did score the try of the match, with Benji Marshall twice involved in an attack which was finished off by James Roberts.

Just after the hour mark, Ben Hunt caught out the Warriors defence with a cross field kick inside the Broncos' half that Roberts latched onto and then raced away to score.

The Warriors needed to score next and Gavet came up with the big play to do that, taking a pass from dummy half Nathaniel Roache and crashing over in the 66th minute.

That was it as far as the game was concerned with the Warriors defence able to hold tight for the final 14 minutes.


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