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Warriors vs Broncos: Kevvies big selection call backfires; Starring vet give...

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Published Time: 29.06.2024 - 03:45:36 Modified Time: 29.06.2024 - 03:45:36

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Harris-Tavita crossed first in the ninth minute after a fine pass from Martin put him through a gap in Brisbane’s right edge defence. Not long after Martin burrowed over from dummy half, a well deserved reward for a well-rounded half from the Warriors’ No.7.

Martin again turned provider when his innocent grubber into the in goal met by Harris-Tavita for his second try of the game. In the 35th minute, the pair almost linked up for another try, only for an Adam Pompey obstruction to prevent Harris-Tavita’s hat-trick.

Fox League’s Mal Meninga was full of praise for Martin and Harris-Tavita during the half-time coverage.

“They had a great 40 minutes,” Meninga said, though he credited the Warriors forward pack for laying a strong platform for their halves to flourish.

By half-time Addin Fonua-Blake and Mitch Barnett had run for over 100 metres, with Dylan Walker not far off triple figures as Brisbane’s middles failed to contain a Warriors pack out to prove a point.

To their credit, Brisbane flew out of the gate in the second half, dominating the game and almost crossing through Selwyn Cobbo, only for the bunker to rule the star centre lost the ball over the try line.

They wouldn’t need to wait long for their next scoring opportunity after Deine Mariner grabbed his second try of the night in the 50th minute. Tristan Sailor hit the winger’s chest with a lovely pass, allowing the winger to burst around Marcelo Montoya like he wasn’t there and score.

From there it appeared to have had a game, with the momentum overwhelming on Brisbane’s side during the second halves opening stages.

However, each time Brisbane appeared to be building on the ascendancy they either found a way to lose grip of the game through an error or penalty or were met by a strong Warriors defensive line.

Off the back of this the home side scored three times in 12 minutes to bury the game.

Two of these tries - to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - came from the boot of Te Maire Martin, who finished with four try assists to potentially given Andrew Webster something to think when Shaun Johnson returns to fitness in a month’s time.

After conceding 66 points last week, this clash was a reminder to the Warriors and their fans that they can be a top side if they want to be. For Brisbane, their season is at risk of sliding in a similar fashion to 2022.

There can be no doubting Shaun Johnson’s talents, but could the Warriors be a better side without him?

Against Brisbane a case could be made for that to be the case, with Andrew Webster’s Round 17 halves partnership of Te Maire Martin and Chanel Harris-Tavita complementing each other well and having a hand in everything good their performance.

It’s a far cry from last week, when Johnson and Martin didn’t seem to fit well together.

Martin finished the game with four try assists, including two for his halves partner Harris-Tavita, and a four pointer of his own.

Speaking post-game, Corey Parker credited the halfback for the “stability and the variety in his game.”

“He (Martin) doesn’t just have one trick, he’s got more than one.

“He just makes this team seem to flow a lot more fluid than what we’ve seen at different stages.”

Mal Meninga agreed the Warriors seemed “a lot more settled with him at No.7 and Harris-Tavita at No.6.

“There’s obviously a lot of question marks around Shaun Johnson at the moment. His body is obviously starting to fall apart.

“I look at the team when those two guys (Martin and Harris-Tavita) are at No.6 and No.7 and they just seem to fall into their roles and the responsibilites.

“They do it really well.

Meninga believes “it’s going to be very difficult to get SJ back into the team.”

“I just feel they flow a lot better as a team when those two (Martin and Harris-Tavita) are at No.6 and No.7.

Thankfully for Webster he has a few more weeks before he needs to make his big halves call. By that time he may have no choice but to stick with their current partnership.

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters told Fox League’s pre-game coverage it was always the plan to rest his Origin trio this week. Fair to say the plan failed.

Walters’ defiance to follow through on the decision to leave Origin representatives Reece Walsh, Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas back home in Red Hill backfired tremendously as the Warriors ran out 32-16 victors.

Before a ball was even kicked, Australian coach Mal Meninga rightly questioned Walters’ choice to leave his three best players in Australia.

“It’s a very tough decision,” Meninga said.

“Even looking back at Kevvy throughout his career, he would never sit at home and not play.

“It’s a little bit against the way the Broncos have operated in the past, where typically it’s seen as a badge of honour to come back after Origin.”

The Broncos were on a hiding to nothing from the very beginning as back-rower Jack Gosiewski left the field in the opening minutes with a suspected broken arm.

Coming within a converted try of the Warriors twice in the second half, the Broncos had no answers as the Warriors ran away with it late on in proceedings.

Brisbane’s fourth-consecutive loss leaves them precariously placed in the top eight stakes ahead of their impending grand final rematch against Penrith this Friday.

There’s no doubt Warriors half Te Maire Martin will forever be grateful to the Broncos’ for resurrecting his career.

Brisbane ended Martin’s almost three-season NRL exodus in 2022 after a brain bleed threatened to end the Kiwi international’s career, before a player swap with Walsh saw him sign with the Warriors last year.

Grateful as he may be, Martin didn’t show a lick of it upon orchestrating his former team’s demise.

Martin had the ball on a string, having a hand in all three of the Warriors’ first half tries including his own in the 15th minute.

The absence of Shaun Johnson proved Chanel Harris-Tavita’s gain, the five-eighth scoring a first half double courtesy of Martin’s deft touch.

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