Warriors get another NRL chance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors get another NRL chance

Wayne Heming 11/09/2011 06:50:52 PM Comments (0)

Much was written about future Kiwi star Shaun Johnson's explosiveness but the livewire No.7 was barely sighted in the Warriors' disappointing 40-10 NRL qualifying final loss to Brisbane.

The 20-year-old wasn't alone, with a number of his more-experienced teammates failing to aim up after coach Ivan Cleary had boldly declared the team ready to deliver on their potential.

Melbourne's expected win over Newcastle on Sunday has given the Warriors a second life and Brisbane No.7 Peter Wallace believes halves Johnson and James Maloney will have learned plenty from Saturday night's experience.

Before the game, former New Zealand halfback Stacey Jones described Johnson as "something special" with the potential to be a superstar.

A month ago, Johnson scored a breathtaking 60-metre solo try, beating six defenders with his blistering speed and footwork that had everyone talking.

On Saturday night, he ran 25 metres and hardly made an impact.

However Wallace, at his running best going to the defensive line at every opportunity, predicted the youngster would bounce back.

"It can happen to any young player, especially under the pressure of finals football," said Wallace.

"He didn't quite have the platform we did and that makes it very hard to play behind, especially if you're inexperienced."

While Wallace was sympathetic towards his rival, a brutally honest Cleary didn't hide from the fact his players didn't rise to the occasion.

In perhaps their worst performance of the year, highlighted by Test winger Manu Vatuvei's fumbling shocker, the Warriors failed in the intensity of finals football and this was acknowledged when Cleary faced the media after the loss.

"I hope we get one (a second chance). I don't think that can happen again," he said of their disappointing effort.

"But at this stage, we have no right to have another game next week, really after that."

With Melbourne's win over Newcastle giving the Warriors another shot, Wallace believes Johnson and Maloney will have learned a lot from Saturday night's experience.

But apart from lifting his players off the canvas, Cleary has some other concerns before their sudden-death clash with Wests Tigers on Friday night.

Rugged prop Sam Rapira is on report for a lifting tackle on Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough while utility Joel Moon suffered a possible broken leg.

They will have Shaun Berrigan returning from a hip injury and a winger nicknamed "The Beast", hungry to make amends for his horror game against Brisbane.

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