10 Jun 2018

Johnson-inspired Warriors overwhelm Manly

6:23 am on 10 June 2018

Two tries to Shaun Johnson in his 150th NRL game helped the New Zealand Warriors claim a 34-14 win over Manly in Christchurch.

Warrior's halfback Shaun Johnson scoring a try against Manly

Warrior's halfback Shaun Johnson scoring a try against Manly Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

The half-back, returning from injury, combined effectively with David Fusitu'a as the Warriors virtually shut out Manly in the second half.

Johnson scored a try on the back of a break by the winger, before returning the favour, making his own break and putting Fusitu'a across the line.

Fusitu'a crossed three times in nine minutes in the second spell to storm to a competition-leading 15 tries.

The Warriors' ninth win ensures they remain fourth while the luckless Manly continue to languish in the bottom four with a third loss in a row and 10th defeat overall.

Up 8-0 after dominating the opening quarter, the Sea Eagles' hopes took a sizeable blow when early try-scorer Api Koroisau limped off with a foot injury.

His absence was obvious in a fraying defensive line as the Warriors began to rule the collisions in a welcome departure from some recent lacklustre forward performances.

It took a storming 50m kick return from Maumalo to spark his side's first try, with Isaiah Papali'i put across the stripe by Blake Green later in the set.

The former Manly five-eighth was at again it soon after, sending Tohu Harris over to put the Warriors 12-8 up at the break after playing into a stiff breeze.

The second half was the Johnson-Fusitu'a show down the Warriors' lethal right edge as a tired-looking Manly offered little resistance.

A Fusitu'a bust set up a 43rd minute try for his halfback, whose speed to finish suggested he has overcome the ankle problem that sidelined him for three weeks.

The Warriors managed five tries after the break and six overall on a freezing South Island evening, with Fusitu'a the three-time beneficiary of his team's late control and Johnson's range of skills.

Brian Kelly crossed for a Manly consolation try as his team's streak of seven successive wins over the Warriors ground to an emphatic halt.