The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have this afternoon been defeated 20-6 by the Warriors in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
In what was even worse news, a number of injuries were suffered throughout the 80 minutes. Ryan Simpkins (ribs), Nathan Peats (shoulder), John Olive (pectoral), Tyler Cornish (concussion), Morgan Boyle (concussion) and Pat Politoni (arm) will all need to be assessed with news to come on the length of time they will spend on the sidelines.
The Titans went into the match with only four top-line players unavailable which gave Coach Neil Henry a good chance to see the majority of his squad in action.
The opening exchanges were played through the middle with two casualties early on. Lock forward Simpkins came from the field with a rib injury whilst hooker Peats came off in the 12th minute with what looked to be a shoulder injury.
It was the Warriors who opened the scoring in the 20th minute off the back of a repeat set. Johnson earned the additional six tackles and they didn’t disappoint the local with Isaiah Papalii cruising through a gap to score. Johnson couldn’t add the extras with the scoreboard reading 4-nil.
The Warriors key men, Isaac Luke, Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck combined to set-up their second try with the new Warriors captain firing a long ball to winger Tui Lolohea who went over to score. Johnson converted from the sideline to extend the lead out to 10-nil after 33 minutes.
Back to back penalties gave the Titans a good opportunity just before the half-time break and they turned it into points. It was halfback Ash Taylor who took the ball to the line and put the grubber in with John Olive flying through and winning the race to the ball to score. Taylor converted to close the gap to 10-6 at the half-time break.
It was the home side who got the jump in the second half and they were able to score off the weight of possession and penalties. The scorer was David Fusitua who was put into the gap off the back of a three on two situation. Johnson couldn’t convert with the Warriors now leading 14 – 6 after 55 minutes.
The next Warriors try was scored by prop forward James Gavet but it was a relatively soft try with the defence not aiming up on the line. Johnson converted with the lead now 14 points, 20-6.
With four minutes remaining Simon Mannering went over to score when he pounced on a loose ball, off the back of a Johnson grubber. Johnson converted the try to give the home side a 26-6 victory.
WARRIORS 26 (Papalii, Lolohea, Fusitua, Gavet, Mannering Tries; Johnson 3 Goals)
TITANS 6 (Olive Try; Taylor Goal)
At: Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North