NZ Warriors show promising signs in trial win over Melbourne Storm
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/110814212/-

2019-02-22 22:41:28

ANALYSIS: One trial down, one win in the books for the Warriors as they open season 2019 with a 12-6 win over the Melbourne Storm, in Geelong.

The side featured a lot of young players and was without any of the real key men, but there were encouraging signs nonetheless.

Here's five of the big takeaways from the first-up win on Friday.

1. Advantage Adam Keighran

The young Australian officially put his nose in front in the three-horse-race for Shaun Johnson's vacant No. 7 jumper, with a solid outing in the role.

He started alongside 19-year-old Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves, the man presumed to be his biggest competition for the spot along side Blake Green come round one.

Both played well, but Keighran was clearly more of a game manager and showed off a monster left boot also.

He controlled the bulk of the kicking, and even shifted to left centre in the fourth quarter where fans got to see a glimpse of just how dangerous he can be when he takes the line on.

Fellow Rookie Hayze Perham got a run in the halves also, and scored a try, but Keighran was the pick of three.

2. Burr lives up to hype

There were plenty of wraps on the big forward coming over from the Bulldogs, and he didn't disappoint in his first outing as a Warrior.

Lachlan Burr was just about the best forward on the park on Friday, with his hard running and uncompromising defence.

With the retirement of Simon Mannering and departure of James Gavet, Burr will be hoping he can build on a solid first hit-out in the remaining trials and force his way into Stephen Kearney's 17.

3. Defence earns a pass

It was a Storm side without most of their big guns, but Kearney will be happy to have only allowed one try against last year's grand finalists.

The Warriors dominated the middle third of the field by controlling the ruck speed led by Burr, but the most impressive part of their defensive effort was on the edges.

The Kiwi club played an up-and-in style rush defence on the flanks and Melbourne struggled all night to go around them.

The one time it looked like they might, young gun Patrick Herbert put and end to that and pulled off the hit of the game on Storm fullback Scott Drinkwater.

4. Roache fit and firing

In his first game of rugby league since August 2017, Warriors hooker Nate Roache returned with a bang.

In the wake of news Issac Luke is being chased by the Eels on a deal that could see him leave before round one this year, fans would have been encouraged by the performance from the presumed back-up No. 9.

Fresh off of major back surgery, the 22-year-old looked strong on defence and with his first dart out of dummy-half, almost split Melbourne right up the middle.

His passing was crisp and Roache was clearly vocal throughout his 25-minute spell, in a side without a dominant half, he stepped up in that department.

5. Win's a win

You can't put a price on confidence and in rugby league, it can often be the difference.

The Warriors started last season with five straight wins which catapulted their season towards the finals - and it came off the back of some good trial form.

Friday's match was technically a dead rubber, but winning can be contagious.

And here's hoping the Warriors catch the bug again off the back of the win in Melbourne.

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