The Warriors began the Andrew Webster era with a resounding 48-12 victory over Wests Tigers in the first round of the NRL Pre-season Challenge on Thursday night at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
Te Maire Martin and Luke Metcalf, the new recruits, worked well together in the halves and helped the Warriors to a 14-0 lead. Marcelo Montoya scored his third try of the night after causing chaos on the left edge. Montoya’s powerful run knocked Charlie Staines off his feet for his second try, but Staines still looked strong at fullback for Wests Tigers, despite limited playing time.
Metcalf continued to impress with a fantastic solo effort in the second half, which presents new Warriors coach Andrew Webster with a difficult decision for the Round 1 halves lineup with Martin, Shaun Johnson, and Ronald Volkman all competing for the spot. On the other hand, Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has a choice to make between Staines and Daine Laurie for the fullback position in the club’s first match against the Titans on March 5.
Sheens may have been disappointed with the side’s initial performance, but he was encouraged by the 10-minute period in the second half when Stefano Utoikamanu and Trey Peni scored tries.
However, the momentum quickly faded as Viliami Vailea intercepted two tries, making the Warriors’ win even more decisive. Brandon Wakeham, one of Sheens’ new additions, had a mixed performance in the halves after only joining the club two weeks ago.