Johnson steers Warriors to big NRL win

A masterclass from Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson helped his side to a 36-14 NRL victory on Saturday over Gold Coast.

The 2014 Golden Boot winner set up two tries and scored two himself as the Warriors clawed back from a 10-0 deficit.

All up, Johnson contributed 20 points as the Warriors halted Gold Coast’s two-match winning streak and dumped them from the top eight.

The Warriors took control after a thrilling opening half, delighting the crowd of 14,132 at cBus Super Stadium – most of whom were clad in black and clearly sympathetic to New Zealand.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner’s 52nd-minute try sparked their comeback while Konrad Hurrell effectively sealed the result with 15 minutes to go on the back of a grubber from Johnson.

In-form centre James Roberts showed there was life left in the home side by firing back in the 70th minute, but the Warriors went over twice more to take advantage of a tiring Gold Coast defence.

Already without their captain Nate Myles, who couldn’t shake off a foot issue stemming from State of Origin II on Wednesday night, the night came at a further cost for the Titans.

Myles’ deputy Ryan James suffered an injury to his left shoulder and was clearly restricted when he re-entered the fray in the second half, while five-eighth Aidan Sezer also came off late in the contest with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

The Titans established a 10-point lead in the first half after absorbing some early Warriors pressure and firing back with two tries in five minutes.

Roberts crafted the first with some thinking on the run, turning what appeared to be a dead-end move into a genuine opportunity on the left.

Drifting across the field, Roberts spotted new Titans centre Nene McDonald who then played an inside ball for Josh Hoffman to score after 11 minutes.

Gold Coast struck again shortly afterwards as Luke Douglas unleashed a rampaging Lachlan Burr, who charged through traffic and touched down under the black dot.

But the Warriors struck back on the 20-minute mark through Nathan Friend, who had spent most of the match to that point off the field undergoing concussion tests after copping a high shot from Eddy Pettybourne.

The former Titans’ hooker caught Pettybourne on his heels, sneaking through the line with a smart dummy-half run, before Johnson converted to make it 10-6.

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