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Warriors suffer back to back defeats on away trip

The Warriors first visit to Canberra in three years ended in a grim 12-32 loss in the round 6 clash against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium.
Warriors suffer back to back defeats on away trip
by NRL

The Warriors first visit to Canberra in three years ended in a grim 12-32 loss in the round 6 clash against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium.

Coming off last Saturday night's 8-26 defeat by the Sydney Roosters the Vodafone Warriors were expected to improve markedly but were only briefly able to get into the contest.

Left with a two win-four loss record with a quarter of the season gone, they now head home for a programme which sees them playing three of their next four games at Mount Smart Stadium, starting with South Sydney next Sunday.

When the Vodafone Warriors stayed in Australia for back-to-back games against Gold Coast and Newcastle last year, they picked up two victories but a week together in Australia this time left them empty-handed.

Vodafone Warriors head coach Brian McClennan made two switches to his starting combination, bringing Lewis Brown into the second row and Russell Packer to prop with Feleti Mateo and Ben Matulino moving onto the interchange.

Initially both sides were steady, working through sets and getting to their kicks. It wasn't until the 15th minute that the pattern and rhythm changed leading to the Raiders opening the game up with four tries in the space of 20 minutes to take a 16-0 lead, the fourth time this season the Vodafone Warriors have found themselves lagging by such a margin. Fortunately Jarrod Croker couldn't find his goal-kicking radar.

Faced with needing a comeback yet again to climb into the contest, the Vodafone Warriors had some chances with Shaun Johnson going close. Finally, just on halftime, nice touches from Johnson and captain Simon Mannering gave centre Ben Henry his first NRL try and James Maloney slotted the conversion superbly to provide some hope at 6-16.

The requirement in the second half was to stay in the battle, to compete and work to build some pressure. Like the opening stanza of the match, the Vodafone Warriors were having some success without being able to execute as they would have wanted.

Once again, though, it was the Raiders who broke the game open 17 minutes into the spell as former Junior Kiwi Josh Papalii steamed through a hole to score. With Croker converting at last the lead was 18 points at 22-6.

While the Vodafone Warriors weren't putting together a performance of the type required, they still had a slight glimmer, even more so when Johnson went to his running game, took on the line and flipped a lovely ball for standoff James Maloney to score his 23rd NRL try. With his conversion, the margin was back to 10 points. Be the next to score and the Vodafone Warriors would be right back in it despite the Raiders dominating the match by this point.

It wasn't to be. Only four minutes after Maloney's try fullback Reece Robinson had his second try followed soon after by a second for Croker to stretch the margin out to 20 points. It finished that way, only slightly better than the 12-38 defeat the last time the Vodafone Warriors played in Canberra in 2009.

Completing only 18 of their 29 sets, the Vodafone Warriors were short on possession yet still came up with six line breaks to Canberra's seven, the first from the kick-off when Mannering broke clear only to have the ball dislodged when he was rounded up by the cover.

On a another challenging day, provisional statistics showed the Vodafone Warriors had only three players who gained more than 100 metres, winger Manu Vatuvei with 137, Mannering 124 and fullback Glen Fisiiahi 108.

The Vodafone Warriors are due to return to Auckland tomorrow after an unsuccessful weekend across the club with the Vodafone Junior Warriors losing 28-32 in the NYC and the Auckland Vulcans going down 30-36 to the Mounties in the New South Wales Cup.

Match details:

At Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Canberra Raiders 32 (Reece Robinson 2, Jarrod Croker 2, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Josh Papalii tries; Jarrod Croker 2 conversions).
NZ Warriors 12 (Ben Henry, James Maloney tries; James Maloney 2 conversions).
Halftime: 16-6 Raiders.
Referees: Shayne Hayne and Alam Shortall.
Crowd: 10,800.

- NRL Stats: Canberra v Warriors
- NYC Stats: Canberra v Warriors
- Live Blog: Canberra v Warriors
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