2 Jul 2016

Warriors topple Titans

7:38 pm on 2 July 2016

Star halfback Shaun Johnson has made light of a niggling thigh complaint with a brilliant solo try to help carry the Warriors to a 27-18 NRL victory over an under-manned Gold Coast Titans in Auckland on Saturday.

Shaun Johnson makes a break

Shaun Johnson makes a break Photo: Photosport

With 14 minutes to go and the home side up by only two points, Johnson received the ball 60 metres out and went on a weaving run to the tryline.

Second-rower Bodene Thompson added the Warriors' fourth try before halfback Cameron Cullen got a late consolation for the visitors.

Johnson had the final say with a last-minute field goal.

The win was an important one for the Warriors, with both sides having come into the latest round sitting two points outside the top eight.

It allowed them to give back-rower Simon Mannering a fitting celebration for his 250th first-grade appearance.

Mannering stood in as captain, with regular skipper Ryan Hoffman struck down by a virus.

Simon Mannering, centre, celebrates a try with the team

Simon Mannering, centre, celebrates a try with the team Photo: Photosport

The Titans were forced into several injury-related changes, with co-captains William Zillman (foot) and Nathan Friend (hand), and up-and-coming half Ash Taylor (groin) among those withdrawn.

They also lost Karl Lawton early in the second half, the 20-year-old centre stretched off on his NRL debut with a leg injury.

That left them down to 15, with interchange forward Ryan Simpkins having gone off just before halftime with concussion.

The Titans made a spectacular start as former Kiwi Josh Hoffman, moved to fullback for Zillman, gathered a grubber on his own line and raced away for a try in the second minute.

Warriors centre Blake Ayshford replied with his own runaway effort after an intercept on his own 20m mark.

The Titans targeted the opposition's right edge with their kicking game, and the tactic paid off when Nene Macdonald climbed high to pluck in a Tyrone Roberts cross-kick for a try.

Bodene Thompson celebrates his try with Issac Luke (L).

Bodene Thompson celebrates his try with Issac Luke (L). Photo: Photosport

But the Warriors again tied up the game, winger Tuimoala Lolohea dotting down in the corner to make the score 10-10 at halftime.

Roberts and Issac Luke traded penalties to keep the match locked up.

Another Luke penalty put the Warriors ahead for the first time before Johnson scored what turned out to be the decisive try.