Johnson a doubt after Warriors beat Tigers

Daniel Gilhooly
Ken Maumalo has helped the Warriors to a 26-4 NRL win over the Wests Tigers in Auckland

The Warriors have reasserted their NRL credentials with an emphatic 26-4 win over the Wests Tigers in Auckland but an injury to halfback Shaun Johnson may sour the taste.

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 Johnson (ankle) and Issac Luke (shoulder) limping off in the second half.

Johnson left the ground on crutches and was booked in for scans, leaving coach Stephen Kearney crossing his fingers.

"In terms of how serious it is, I couldn't tell you," he said.

"I was pleased he walked off the field."

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.

Dislocated shoulders are an going problem for the veteran hooker but it was quickly put back into place, leaving player and coach optimistic.

"He's not quite doing cartwheels but he's trying to convince me that he's fine," Kearney said.

Luke's 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 Blake Green while Johnson started and finished a sweeping 60m try down his team's right edge.

Competition leading try-scorer David Fusitu'a was first on the scoresheet for the Warriors, giving him 11 for the season, but he was later bowled out of the way by Mahe Fonua in the Tigers' lone try.

Marshall said being reduced to 12 men proved too hard to overcome.

"It just changes the flow of the game and we probably didn't deal with it as well as we have in the past," he said.

"We tried too hard as the game went on and dropped too much ball. Then you start playing a bit tired and we played tired."