A Shaun Johnson-inspired Warriors have bounced back from a limp last-up NRL performance in emphatic fashion by downing Brisbane 36-18 in Auckland.
Johnson was both try-scorer and creator on Saturday as the Warriors ran in seven tries to three, with winger David Fusitu’a crossing for two.
The Broncos had four of their six Queensland representatives backing up from State of Origin.
The quartet included prop Josh McGuire who, in an interesting move by coach Wayne Bennett, started at hooker.
Having topped the table in May, the Broncos have lost three in a row.
The Warriors were keen to bounce back from their dismal 38-12 loss to Canberra before last weekend’s bye.
They showed plenty of energy and a willingness to spread the ball as they claimed just their fifth win of the season.
Johnson put them on the board in the eighth minute, a double dummy opening up a gap to the tryline.
He was involved in the second try, his kick and regather continuing an attack begun from far out by veteran winger Manu Vatuvei, back after a month on personal leave, and finished by back-rower Bodene Thompson.
Prop Jacob Lillyman was next to score and Johnson’s third conversion made it 18-0.
Brisbane began to get more possession in the first half and a big bust by Adam Blair led to fellow forward Alex Glenn touching down.
The Broncos crossed twice more in the two minutes before halftime, but were called back for forward passes.
The Warriors kicked ahead early in the second half with two tries in three minutes, the first coming from Fusitu’a with a typical athletic diving effort.
Fusitu’a then produced a big run than ended with skipper Ryan Hoffman going over.
Brisbane closed the gap through winger Jordan Kahu, but Johnson’s cut-out pass put Fusitu’a over.
Centre Solomone Kata powered over for the Warriors before Brisbane grabbed a late consolation through Tevita Pangai Jr.