Warriors keep Titans quiet to win first game of new NRL season

The new era at the Warriors has got off to a great start with a 19-6 win over the Titans at Central Coast Stadium.
A thrilling game this wasnt, with the temperature at over 30 degrees Celsius making conditions tough, but its two points on the board for the Warriors and plenty of signs that the club is heading in the right direction.

This was the start of a new chapter in the history of the Warriors, not just with Nathan Brown coming in as coach, but also because this was a new direction for how the club wanted to play.

Gone is the emphasis on the light, mobile forwards and in have come bigger guys up front like Addin Fonua-Blake and Ben Murdoch-Masila.

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Two of the Warriors tries came from forwards, Bayley Sironen and Leeson Ah Mau, with Kodi Nikorima also chipping in and it was a superb defensive effort to keep the Titans shut out for most of the game. But if theres one concern its that the Warriors did struggle in getting their outside backs involved enough.

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Euan Aitken, making his debut for the Warriors, charges the ball up against the Titans.

In the fourth minute the Warriors had a penalty close to the Titans line and chose to run the ball, but the attacking opportunity was wasted when Nikorima threw a poor ball to Ken Maumalo, which was turned over.

Was this an early sign of another error ridden season? Perhaps not as they settled down after that.

It is a big season for the Warriors 21-year-old halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita as he tries to establish himself as a week in-week out NRL player, but in the early stages of this game his kicking was poor, failing to put any pressure on the Titans defence.

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The Warriors kept Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and the rest of the Titans scoreless in the first half at Central Coast Stadium.

Fonua-Blake showed his skills just before the first half water break with a wonderful charge, then offload and although nothing came from that attack, it was a nice taster of what hell offer this season.

There were few highlight moments over the first 25 minutes, but the game came to life when Sironen took a pass from Wayde Egan close to the line, with the second rower then smashing into the Titans defence and grounding the ball.

But despite that try, the Warriors werent able to build any momentum from it and it was the Titans who finished the half the strongest.

However, even though they were low on energy, caused by having to defend numerous sets and the relentless pace of the game under the new rules, the Warriors held out for a 6-0 lead at the break.

Four minutes into the second half the Titans had a great opportunity to score on the right edge, but even though they had an overlap, Patrick Herbert through a ball forward to the waiting winger Anthony Don.

Soon after, Harris-Tavita was put on report for tripping Herbert, but in the 52nd minute Ah Mau again showed how threatening the Warriors are now up the middle, by storming through for his clubs second try.

Egan and Sironen both left the game early after failing HIAs, but the contest was as good as over when Nikorima scored the Warriors third try, 12 minutes from time.

Corey Thompson did manage to get the Titans on the board in the 73rd minute, but they were too far behind to get back into this and the game finished off with a Harris-Tavita field goal.


Warriors 19 (Bayley Sironen, Leeson Ah Mau, Kodi Nikorima tries; Nikorima 3 goals, Chanel Harris-Tavita field goal). Titans 6 (Corey Thompson try; Jamal Fogarty goal). HT: 6-0


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