Gold Coast 14 New Zealand 32
ALMOST as popular as fellow Kiwi exports Flight of the Conchords, the Warriors last night made the same statement Australian audiences have been hearing from the comedy duo this month: ''It's business time.''
It was Flight of the Konrad at Skilled Park, where Warriors fans outnumbered locals and chunky centre Konrad Hurrell scored a hat-trick in the 32-14 win over Gold Coast before saying he could have posted another, had an ankle injury not forced him off.
The Titans' woes were compounded last night with centre Beau Champion admitting an ankle injury has endangered his season. Even allowing for the absence of Nate Myles, Luke Bailey, Ashley Harrison and Greg Bird from the Gold Coast line-up, this was a performance with more ruthlessness than the Warriors have displayed often this year - and it couldn't have come at a better time.
''It's definitely the business part of the year,'' Warriors captain Simon Mannering said. ''We've got to string a few together to go up the ladder.''
Coach Brian McClennan, a fan of compatriots Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, told The Sun-Herald it would be ''really business time'' against Brisbane on Friday. Unlike the Kiwi comedy band, the Warriors are not remaining in Australia between gigs, flying home this morning.
''We're still doing a few things fairly poorly that we need to get better at - particularly coming up against Brisbane next weekend,'' Mannering said. ''It will be a good test. Good seeing where we're at.''
The quietly spoken Hurrell - in only his second year of rugby league but with 12 tries in as many appearances - was rattled when team-mates Feleti Mateo, Sione Lousi and Lewis Brown joined the media pack in the Warriors sheds and started throwing questions at him.
''I'm sweating here guys, give me a break,'' Hurrell said in exasperation, while Mateo shot the media opportunity on his iPhone. Hurrell had blown kisses at television cameras after each of his touchdowns, in the fourth, 36th and 56th minutes.
Asked if he would have scored another try had he stayed on the field beyond his 55 minutes, he said: ''I think I might have, because of the other 12 guys on the field.''
Hurrell aggravated an ankle injury suffered in last year's grand final - not the hamstring problem that hampered him against Penrith and North Queensland. ''Hopefully I can get it right for next week,'' he said.
But there'll be no next week for Champion, who said he would undergo surgery on his right ankle as soon as possible. ''Last week I hurt my ankle, saw a specialist during the week, thought I'd be all right to play,'' Champion said. ''But I've done the same ankle again. I'll probably need surgery next week. Hopefully it's only three or four weeks but when I spoke to the surgeon, it's probably more - four to six. It's been a bit of an injury ravaged season.''
Titans coach John Cartwright was at a loss to explain his side's 50 per cent success rate. ''We botched the game ourselves,'' he said. ''Hopefully it's a one-off. I haven't seen those sorts of statistics come out of a game for a half of footy.''
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WARRIORS 32 (K Hurrell 3 S Johnson K Locke B Matulino tries J Maloney 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST 14 (B Champion K Gordon D Mead tries S Prince goal) at Skilled Park. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Phil Haines. Crowd: 17,134.