South Sydney Rabbitohs are hoping to turn their recent poor form around when they take on Gold Coast Titans. Meanwhile, Auckland’s Warriors have secured a 30-8 win against a depleted Dolphins side at Mount Smart Stadium. The well-attended match saw Shaun Johnson score two tries and Luke Metcalf seal the lead with another try. While it was a low-scoring match, the teams kept the audience entertained with their strategies. Dolphins missed players such as Queensland Origin duo Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Tom Gilbert, suspended Felise Kaufusi, and injury-benched Jeremy Marshall-King.
Johnson marked the beginning of the match with his first try in only the fifth minute by stepping his way through the Dolphin’s defence. Both teams had moments of intense hits, and Warriors‘ Rocco Berry was sidelined due to a heavy shot. However, Mitch Barnett made his return after a two-month neck injury absence and made up for lost time by tackling with full force. Dolphins had few attacking opportunities in the first half, but Tesi Niu scored before the first half ended by latching onto a looping pass from Kodi Nikorima to score at the corner.
Johnson continued his good form, and in the 53rd minute, scored his second try by unlocking some committed defense with a jinking run. Directly from the restart, Metcalf scored a try after taking a pass from a Marata Niukore linebreak and racing 40 meters. Warriors‘ lead continued to grow as the game progressed, and the Dolphins started to concede far too many penalties. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was denied a try by the video match officials due to Bayley Sironen‘s obstruction in the lead-up. However, the veteran managed to get over the line later in the match off a similar move. Watene-Zelezniak also intercepted a pass from Isiaya Katoa and raced half the length of the field to secure a much-needed win for Warriors. The Dolphins grabbed a consolation try through Jamayne Isaac.