Despite being without Shaun Johnson, the Warriors have scored a 30-6 upset over the Sydney Roosters.The Warriors are the real deal and Blake Green might be the answer to NSW’s halves problem.
That was the message coming out of Allianz Stadium after the crafty playmaker pulled the strings as the Shaun Johnson-less Warriors upset NRL premiership favourites the Sydney Roosters 30-6 on Saturday.
The Warriors were dealt a massive blow when talismanic halfback Johnson was ruled out with a groin injury.
In past years, such a setback would have caused the New Zealand side to put the cue in the rack but they rallied to record an important two points and remain unbeaten.
Johnson’s fill-in Mason Lino was superb, kicking seven from seven, however Green was the chief architect as the Warriors recorded their first win without Johnson since round 22, 2014.
“Greeny’s been wonderful for us all season,” Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said.
“He’s a real footy-head, you’ve got to be a bit careful when you sit down with him there, you get caught up shuffling around salt and pepper shakers with him.
“But that’s what I really love about him and the guys have really seen that. He’s made a great contribution.”
For the Roosters, they came back to earth with a thud after a promising win over Newcastle last week.
A brilliant Latrell Mitchell try opened the scoring however it was one-way traffic thereafter in front of a crowd of 14,493, more than half of whom seemed to be Warriors supporters.
The Warriors big men laid the platform, with Kearney’s side running for 1345m compared with the Roosters’ 834m.
And it was Green who put the icing on the cake.
While Roosters halves Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk – whose night was summed up when he kicked out on the full – had shockers, Green steered his side around the park brilliantly.
It was a performance that would have made the NSW selectors take notice.
Despite missing Johnson – who is expected back next week – the Warriors looked slick and assured with the ball in hand.
All three of their first-half tries came off set plays as they led 18-6 at the break.
Tohu Harris stood and offloaded for Lino’s four-pointer before back-rower Leivaha Pulu ran a neat line to give his side the lead in the 17th.
The only try of the second half came when Lino put in an inch-perfect bomb for David Fusitua.
“We’ve come up against a team that’s played well each week,” Robinson said.
“They were ready to play and they’ve played really well.
“The basic rules of rugby league where you want to respect the basic rules of rugby league, that concerned me. If you’re not going to respect the ball and play that way, that’s disappointing.”