Rugby League

Johnson turns back the clock to sink Dolphins

June 3, 2023 7:23 pm

[Source: NRL News]

A dazzling display from Shaun Johnson and a double to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak led the Warriors to a 30-8 win over the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.

In his second season back with the Warriors after three years at the Sharks, Johnson turned the clock back the golden days of 2014 when he collected the Golden Boot as the world’s best player.

The home side got off to a flyer in the sixth minute when Johnson produced a superb solo try from close range, leaving Dolphins skipper Jesse Bromwich in his wake with slick footwork.

Article continues after advertisement

The Warriors threatened to go further ahead in the 11th minute but some desperation defence by Euan Aitken around the legs and Tesi Niu up high denied Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

A setback for the Warriors in the 13th minute when centre Rocco Berry left the field for a HIA after a head clash with Jarrod Wallace and was unable to return.

Fullback Kodi Nikorima ignited the Dolphins with an intercept and long run before finding Jamayne Isaako but the Warriors scrambled back and a forward pass on the next play snuffed out the opportunity for the visitors.

The Dolphins threatened again shortly after but a knock on by Isaako as he climbed high for a bomb saw the Warriors hold on to their 6-0 lead.

A mistake by Addin Fonua-Blake eight minutes from half-time handed the Dolphins the opportunity to go on the attack and Niu crossed out wide courtesy of a long pass from Nikorima to make it 6-4.

Dolphins debutant Max Plath came up with a forward pass down his own end in the final minute to gift the Warriors a late chance but a double movement by Luke Metcalf kept the margin at two points as the sides went to the break.

The Dolphins lost Milford to the sin bin in the 48th minute for a late shot on Marcelo Montoya and the Warriors looked to have cashed in on the one-man advantage when Dallin Watene-Zelezniak flew into the corner but the try was pulled up for obstruction.

With the game in the balance it was Johnson who blew it open in the 55th minute with his second try of the match courtesy of some dazzling footwork close to the line.

Two minutes later the Warriors raced to an 18-4 lead when Metcalf finished off some good lead-up work by Bayley Sironen and Marata Niukore.

Having been denied earlier by the obstruction call Watene-Zelezniak had his moment on the hour mark when he crossed for his sixth try of the season to blow the scoreline out to 24-4.

Three minutes later the winger had a double after he took an intercept on halfway and raced away to make it 30-4 before Isaako grabbed a late consolation try for the Dolphins.