There was no upset win against reigning premiers Penrith Panthers, but the Vodafone Warriors showed glimpses of improvement in their final ‘home’ game at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday night (June 18).
The Panthers won 40-6 in a dominant and confident display of relentless attack and crushing defence.
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It took Penrith almost 15 minutes to get the first points on the board, after a no-try decision a few minutes earlier. In the end, they ran in seven tries to one.
The Warriors had opportunities, but again mistakes proved costly. Josh Curran scored the only points for the home side, with a try in the final five minutes following a 40/20 kick from Reece Walsh.
Warriors players thanked the crowd of 8127 and the Moreton Bay Region community for supporting them this season with a lap around the field and fireworks display at full-time.
When asked how special that moment was, interim Head Coach Stacey Jones said: “We know being away from home has been tough but we’ve also had some wonderful support here from the Redcliffe community. We’re still going to be around for the rest of the season, we just won’t be playing any footy games here”.
The team has a week off before they return to Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, for their clash with Wests Tigers on July 3 at 2pm.
“It’s going to be very exciting for the group and where we are at the moment. It gives us an opportunity to reset ourselves there,” Jones said.
“We’re not in a good way at the moment with how we’re playing but this gives us a good opportunity to get back home and try and play some good footy that we want to make our people proud of what we do. It gives us a chance to do it.”
Main pictures: Stephen Archer
In the meantime, Warriors’ fullback Reece Walsh will pull on a Maroons jersey for State of Origin game two in Perth on Sunday, June 26.
With game one squad members Xavier Coates, Reuben Cotter and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow all unavailable due to injury, Maroons selectors have called Corey Oates (Brisbane Broncos), Beau Fermor (Gold Coast Titans) and Reece Walsh (Warriors) into the 22-player squad.
Oates has played eight Origin games for the Maroons, while Walsh and Fermor are now a step closer to making their debuts after making the extended squad.
Walsh was expected to debut at fullback in game two of last year’s series before suffering a hamstring injury.
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