NEW coach Matthew Elliott admits he badly miscalculated the impact of travel on the Warriors for the first 11 weeks of his tenure at the club. One of the worst away records in the NRL has taken now a sizeable step toward improvement.
The Aucklanders ran in 10 tries to put 50 or more points past proud Brisbane for only the fourth time in the club’s history – and the first time on Queensland soil – in a crushing 56-18 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Glen Fisiahi and Konrad Hurrell all scored try braces just 16 days after Elliott’s side was lapped 62-6 by Penrith. It was a Brisbane performance that coach Anthony Griffin labelled “embarrassing” and captain Alex Glenn said he was “ashamed” of.
“It’s been an interesting challenge – we’ve dabbled in a couple of different areas and I think we’ve finally got it right,” Elliott said of the change in travel routine for the Monday Night Football game.
“We’re coming slightly earlier. Getting here the day before, I really underestimated the length of travel and I underestimated the difference the two hours (time) difference has.
“it’s only a three and a half hour flight but when you add up stuff at either end, it ends up being a seven-hour day. It’s quite taxing..”
Instead of arriving on match eve, the Warriors flew into Brisbane on Saturday night. It certainly seemed to do the trick – even if prop Russell Packer suffered mild incontinence. Video footage showed him urinating on the field, ala Don McKinnon on the same arena in 1988.
Elliott also revealed he dug out an obscure statistic to help drive his charges on after the Centrebet Stadium shellacking.
“There’ve been 20 teams in the NRL dusted by 50 points in the last five years,” said Elliott.
“Thirteen of those have won the following week – over 50 per cent – but only three have won the next week and only one away.
“We used it … all week. We had the opportunity to do something extraordinary. If you do what half the teams have done, that’s extraordinary. If you do what five per cent of teams have done, you start to put yourself in that bracket.”
The contest was as good as over at halftime with the Warriors 26-8 ahead. Most interest regarding the game in cyberspace centred on a sign brandished by a visiting fan which read “Let’s Gone Warriors” and the packer screen grab.
The Broncos drop two places to 11th but coach Anthony Griffin said that was the least of his worries.
“Just not good enough, embarrassing, they are probably two phrases that come to mind,” the ashen-faced coach said.
“Defensively when we needed to aim up, we just weren’t there.
“We need to look it square in the face and get back to work and get back to business.
“We’ve dropped some positions on the ladder but my thoughts at the moment aren’t about where we are on the ladder. We’ve got to go back, starting with me, and have a good look at ourselves.
“It doesn’t matter who we’ve got out there, we’ve got to be better than that.”
Glenn commented: “We’re not very proud of what happened out there … a bit ashamed of our efforts out there. I want to win some respect back for the jersey and the people who’ve worn it.”
Brisbane were boosted before kick-off by the early return of England centre Jack Reed, although the remodelled line-up struggled throughout.
Elliott said: “I acknowledge how Anthony must feel because I was there a couple of weeks ago.”
· To top of a colourful evening, a Warriors fan successfully proposed to his girlfriend in the dressingrooms afterwards.
WARRIORS 56 (T Leuluai 2 M Vatuvei 2 G Fisiahi 2 K Hurrell 2 K Locke R Packer tries tries S Johnson 8 goals) bt BRISBANE 18 (J Hoffman A Glenn S Prince tries S Prince 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: B Cummins/B Suttor. Crowd: 21,259.
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD