Warriors suffer crucial injuries in win over Tigers

Daniel Gilhooly
The Warriors celebrate another great try. Pic: Getty

The Warriors have reasserted their NRL credentials with an emphatic 26-4 win over the Wests Tigers in Auckland but the result may have come at a heavy cost.

Bouncing back from last week's 50-10 humiliation at the hands of Melbourne, the hosts on Saturday night handed the Tigers their third straight loss and their biggest defeat of the season.

Dampening any major celebrations was the sight of key playmakers Issac Luke (arm/shoulder) and Shaun Johnson (leg) escorted from the field in the second half.

That veteran hooker Luke was even playing was remarkable given the club had initially said his knee injury suffered against the Storm required a four-week break.

His replacement, Karl Lawton, made the most of his first game for the club, darting over for two late tries to cap a compelling team display.

The result means the Warriors are assured of finishing round nine in second place with a 7-2 record while the Tigers (5-4) will slip from fifth to a mid-table berth.

The Tigers' previous losses had been by two points but they were a distinct second-best on Saturday, with their cause not helped by two players spending time in the sin bin.

Winger David Nofoaluma was dispatched in the first half for a professional foul while Elijah Taylor was marched after halftime in a ruling that was contested furiously by Tigers co-captain Benji Marshall.

The Warriors capitalised on their man advantage on both occasions, through respective tries to winger Ken Maumalo and Johnson.

Maumalo scored down the vacant flank through a perfectly floated pass from the excellent Blake Green while Johnson started and finished a sweeping 60m try down his team's potent right edge.

Competition leading try-scorer David Fusitu'a was first on the scoresheet for the Warriors, giving him 11 for the season.

Fusitu'a was bowled out of the way when equally hulking opposite Mahe Fonua crossed to leave the Tigers trailing 12-4 at the break.