Warriors shut down Eagles in trial
THE Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles gave it their best shot, but were almost inevitably overrun by the New Zealand Warriors in their trial in Whangerei last night, going down 68-10.
Before a crowd of 8500, the Warriors opened the scoring with a try to prop Ben Matulino after six minutes, before winger Ivan Penehe crossed out wide.
The Sea Eagles, with big forward Marty Cordwell leading from the front, defended grimly and were able to keep the Warriors at bay until quarter-time.
For the most part the Coast players struggled to penetrate the Warriors' defensive line, although skipper Todd Murphy impressed by making several line breaks and positioning his side well to send hooker Kane Richards over for a try and make it 10-6 after 27 minutes.
That seemed to spark the Kiwis into action and tries to Carlos Tuimavave, Pita Godonet and a second to Penehe gave the Warriors a 28-6 lead at half-time.
The second half was all one-way traffic as the home side overpowered a brave but visibly tiring Sea Eagles defence.
The Warriors added eight more tries in the second 40 minutes, but winger Campbell Stewart grabbing a consolation try right at the death for the Coast side.
Coach Dave Cordwell said the Warriors had exposed his team's deficiencies.
"Our pre-season has been all about ground play and winning the tackle. They showed us first hand how to do it," Cordwell said.
"Their talk in every tackle was incredible. They gave us a lesson in slowing down the play the ball."
Cordwell said Warriors coach Brian McClennan had paid tribute to the Sea Eagles after the match.
"Brian actually came into our sheds and said he thought our structure looked better than theirs. I thought that was a real big thing to come out of it," Cordwell said.
"We had only six sets in the second half ... it's very difficult to play football without the ball."
NEW ZEALAND 68
(Tries: B Matulino 2, I Penehe 2, K Inu 2, J Ropati, L Brown, G Fisiiahi, K Locke, A Ta'ai, C Tuimavave, P Godinet)
SUNSHINE COAST 10
(Tries: K Richards, C Stewart)