Warriors 54 Raiders 10
Embarrassed: Raiders players leave the field after another heavy defeat.
The Eden Park hoodoo is at last dead and will never be mentioned again.
At the sixth time of asking the Warriors have finally broken their drought at the home of rugby in Auckland by beating Canberra Raiders 54-12.
It was the Warriors’ last game at Eden Park this season and it may be the final time they ever visit it, but if that’s to be the case it was a great way to say goodbye.
In front of 18,165 spectators, this was the Warriors at their very best as they beat up the Raiders forwards and used the scintillating skills of their backs to continually open up the Canberra defence.
This Warriors win was more impressive than their victory over the Storm two weeks ago, not because the opposition was tougher, but that they were able to get a victory against a side they were expected to beat.
For so long the Warriors have been a team that’s been able to pull off a big win one week and then capitulating the next, but already under new coach Andrew McFadden they’ve shown a level of consistency that’s been lacking for the past couple of years.
For the Raiders, this was their fourth defeat in five games and already, before the season has reached the Origin period, their campaign to make the top eight looks to be over.
It took just four minutes for the Warriors to make their mark, with Ben Matulino bursting through a rapidly closing gap in the Raiders’ defence to score the opening try.
Four minutes later Konrad Hurrell showed he’s moved on from a week where he was in the media for all of the wrong reasons, by scoring a 60-metre try as he ripped down the right edge, using strength and speed to get the try.
By the 13th minute the game was in the bag when Shaun Johnson intercepted a pass from Glen Buttriss and ran 30 metres, then nailed his third successful conversion.
The Raiders were able to finally get on the board shortly afterwards when Jarrod Croker leapt above everyone to catch a Terry Campese bomb aimed perfectly just inside the Warriors goal line.
But eight minutes from the break the Warriors were able to extend their lead again, this time Ngani Laumape rounded the Raiders defence to beat Bill Tupou.
The Warriors had to soak up some pressure early in the second half, but they defended well and then struck again with a runaway try from Johnson.
This was followed quickly by tries to Sam Tomkins, two to Manu Vatuvei and Jayson Bukuya. Croker picked up his second try in the last play of the game.
To cap an unhappy day for Canberra, in the under 20s the Warriors thrashed the visitors 54-0.
New Zealand Warriors 54 (Shaun Johnson 2, Manu Vatuvei 2, Ben Matulino, Konrad Hurrell, Bill Tupou, Sam Tomkins, Jayson Bukuya tries; Shaun Johnson 9 goals) bt Canberra Raiders 10 (Jarrod Croker 2 tries; Croker goal) at Eden Park, Auckland.