Six months in a leaky boat. Why the New Zealand Warriors are the WORST defensive side in the NRL
The Warriors prove they are the WORST defensive side in the NRL in the awful Magic Round loss to Souths, as the Bunnies almost lost a huge lead in the worrying late collapse.
- The Warriors gave up 26 points and missed 21 tackles in the first half alone
- They came back in the second half when the Rabbitohs finished completely.
- However, the Warriors have now slumped to last place in the NRL defensively.
- It comes after heavy losses against a depleted Cronulla and the Storm.
When iconic Kiwi band Split Enz wrote their hit song Six Months in a Leaky Boat, they might as well have been singing about the current New Zealand Warriors NRL team.
While Souths won 32-30 in their Magic Round NRL clash, there is unlikely to be a ticker-tape parade at Redfern after the Rabbitohs allowed a number of tries in the final minutes as they were completely finished.
It was a dramatic finish when Shaun Johnson attempted a two-point field goal and the Warriors challenged after the siren, looking for an accidental offside to get a shot on goal to tie the score.
But the damage had been done and now the Warriors are officially dead last in the NRL defensively and never deserved to get as close as they did.
“I’m glad we were able to fight back and make a contest out of it, but man, our openings, we just can’t give sides those kinds of advantages,” Johnson said.
Harris recovered from a serious knee injury but was put on the report for a late inning.
“It was the Rabbits of old … the way we played in the second half,” Bunnies captain Cody Walker admitted.
“Regardless of how we got the two points, that was the most important thing, that we got the two points.”
The game seemed dead and buried by halftime as the Bunnies led 26-0 while the Warriors missed 21 tackles. They finished the game with a total of 38 misses.
Makeshift hooker Jazz Tevaga had a night to forget, racking up four failed tackles while limping off the field with a knee problem in the first half.
Tohu Harris was supposed to be a big addition to the Warriors, playing his first game of the season after returning from a serious knee injury sustained last July.
He could return straight to the stands after being called out for a late, lazy shot at a Souths player.
Fullback Reece Walsh always looked menacing with the ball in his hand, but he finished with three missed tackles and two errors. Matthew Lodge had four misses, new midfielder Daejarn Asi and second row Aaron Pene had three.
The biggest flop of the day came from new recruit Freddy Lussick, who was sent to the club from the Sydney Roosters.
He was sent in to replace Tevaga, but had a miserable night on defense with a staggering five missed tackles, although the hooker was forced to make 41 tackles when Souths’ wingers routinely attacked him.
It was not an isolated case or a single bad night at the office. The Warriors have routinely proven to be impressive defensively this season.
Last week, the Warriors leaked 29 points against a Cronulla team that played 12 men for most of the night, 11 men at the end.
The Melbourne Storm pumped the Warriors to a 70-10 record on Anzac Day.
Unless the Dragons miss 30-plus tackles in their game this weekend, the Warriors will continue to be last in the NRL when it comes to missed tackles.
Still, Souths fans won’t be doing somersaults for the win. After putting together a seemingly insurmountable lead in the first half, they put the cue on the shelf.
There were 38 failed tackles in the loss against South Sydney, making the Warriors the worst defensive team in the NRL.
There were some nervous moments in the final five minutes when hooker Damien Cook was sent off for taking out Shaun Johnson as he attempted to score a try.
Coach Jason Demetriou will probably be furious at the performance of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on his side.
Cody Walker showed moments of brilliance in his first game as captain and scored on three of the attempts in the first half. But he was one of the players guilty of disappearing in the second half.
The Rabbitohs will also be concerned about the fitness of forward Jacob Host. He dislocated his right shoulder two weeks ago and reinjured his shoulder against the Warriors.
“He’ll be looking for a longer stint on the sidelines, maybe surgery, given how unstable that shoulder is,” sideline reporter Lara Pitt said.