The Warriors win opener against Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

The Warriors win opener against Eels

14/03/2009 10:05:26 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Warriors skipper Steve Price praised his side's "courageous effort" in opening their 2009 NRL campaign in style with a 26-18 win over Parramatta in Auckland on Saturday night.

Dedicating the match to former teammate Sonny Fai, who drowned at an Auckland Beach in January, the Warriors ran in four tries to three to notch a club-record seventh straight home triumph.

The victory was also a fitting result for Price, who celebrated his 300th premiership match in front of a 17,447-strong crowd at Mt Smart Stadium.

"We had the preparation covered ... and it was a very courageous effort by the boys," Price said.

"First and foremost, we were out to get the two points and it's good that it's finished."

The Warriors dominated from the outset, with former Brisbane player Joel Moon scoring the opening try in the ninth minute and Russell Packer adding a second quickly after.

Parramatta winger Eric Grothe - making his 100th appearance for the Eels - found a gap in the Warriors defence to finally get his side on the board in the 24th minute.

But the Kiwis quickly responded with tries either side of the break from Lance Hohaia.

The Eels staged a comeback, with Jarryd Hayne benefiting from a fumble by Wade McKinnon and touching down in the 51st minute before Krisnan Inu narrowed the Warriors' lead to eight points soon after.

But that was as close as the visitors got, the Warriors hanging on despite losing lock Micheal Luck to a high tackle from Fuifui Moimoi four minutes from fulltime.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said he was happy with the ball control and performances all round, but lamented a high injury toll as Hohaia (knee), Ben Matulino (ankle) and Luck (chest) all taking knocks.

"There are plenty of bruised bodies," Cleary said.

The coach also praised debutant five-eighth Moon, saying he was "coming along very nicely".

Clearly also paid tribute to Parramatta's resilience.

"To their credit, they just kept coming," he said.

"They've got so many dangerous players, especially when they've got nothing to lose."

Eels coach Daniel Anderson, a former Warriors coach, was upbeat despite the loss to his old side.

"It was a very, very high quality game for round one," Anderson said.

"They blew us away in the first bit (and) it took us a while to regroup but I'm very encouraged by it."

However, he admitted to being disappointed the Eels never got the chance to make the Warriors nervous.

He offered special praise for Hayne, who was playing five-eighth for the first time at NRL level.

"He had some good bits and he had some rocks in it," he said.

"But his defence was impressive. I haven't seen him tackle with that much ferocity before."

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