Storm shellacking tops list of Warriors’ worst performances

Tony Smith is a Stuff sports reporter

OPINION: The Warriors’ woeful run-up-the-white-flag hiding at the hands of the Storm clearly tops the Kiwi club’s Fright Nights lowlights reel in 27 under-achieving seasons in the NRL.

All sorts of unwelcome records were set by Nathan Brown’s class of ’22 at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Monday night.

Dejected Warriors trudge of AAMI Stadium after a record 70-10 Anzac Day defeat to the Storm.

Daniel Pockett / Getty Images

Dejected Warriors trudge of AAMI Stadium after a record 70-10 Anzac Day defeat to the Storm.

Some depressing statistics were dug out on Tuesday by This Warriors Life website editor Will Evans, author of Warriors 25a history of the club’s first quarter-century.

The 70 points conceded was the Warriors’ worst defensive display in history, while, Evans wrote, the 70-10 scoreline matched the Storm’s previous best –in 2000 against a Dragons side with Nathan Brown in the front row.

READ MORE:
* NRL: Warriors forward Aaron Pene cops one-match ban after injury to Storm rival
* Storm coach feels for rattled Warriors after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak knockout blow
* ‘Men against boys’: Media hails ‘whoop-ass’ Storm but round on woeful Warriors
* Warriors make it too easy for Storm in ugly 70-10 Anzac Day defeat
* Warriors’ Nathan Brown has no doubt some players gave up in record loss to Storm

Melbourne’s jet-heeled backs waltzed through the Warriors’ defense for 13 tries – the highest tally in the NRL since 2008.

Stuff has dusted off its own archives and delved back into the five worst Warriors defeats (in descending order).

The Warriors look dejected in Melbourne on Monday night after a 60-point mauling by the Storm.

Daniel Pockett / Getty Images

The Warriors look dejected in Melbourne on Monday night after a 60-point mauling by the Storm.

1: April 25, 2022. Storm 70 Warriors 10

It’s hard to go past Monday night’s debacle as the Warriors’ nadir since their 1995 competition debut.

They have, arguably, played a lot worse over 80 minutes than they did at AAMI Stadium, where they were still in contention at halftime, trailing 16-10 after gifting the Storm three tries.

But it’s impossible to overlook the second half capitulation, which sparked a club-record defeat.

Even coach Nathan Brown conceded some Warriors gave up in the last 30 minutes as the Storm piled up a NRL-record 54 second spell points, 48 ​​in the final half-hour.

Trent Loiero of the Storm is tackled by Jazz Tevaga of the Warriors.

Daniel Pockett / Getty Images

Trent Loiero of the Storm is tackled by Jazz Tevaga of the Warriors.

Brown’s frank admission – patently obvious to long-suffering Warriors supporters – is the reason why this showing ranks as the Warriors’ worst.

It smarts to see a New Zealand side surrender on Anzac Day.

To contort an old cliche, the Warriors were lucky to get nil in the second spell.

There were plenty of players who failed to front, but wing Edward Kosi, who made two fumbles that led to first-half tries and gave up the ghost defending a second half kick, had the toughest night at the office of any Warrior since a teenage Matu Vatvuei shelled three bombs for Eels tries in a 30-6 loss in 2007.

2: May 18, 2013. Panthers 62 Warriors 6

The Warriors defense struggle to contain the Panthers' Kiwi forward Sika Manu in 2013.

Matt King / Getty Images

The Warriors defense struggle to contain the Panthers’ Kiwi forward Sika Manu in 2013.

The 10-try mauling by the Panthers mountain men doubly hurt because Penrith were coached by Ivan Cleary, who the Warriors had lost to the Blue Mountains after guiding them to the 2011 NRL grand final.

There were eerie parallels to Monday night’s humiliation, with chief executive Wayne Scurrah scolding his charges after some players were spotted smiling near the end of the game.

Coach Matthew Elliott even subbed off poster boy Shaun Johnson, who later admitted the fallout amounted to a “week from hell ”.

Glen Fisiiahi of the Warriors shapes to pass against the Panthers.

Matt King / Getty Images

Glen Fisiiahi of the Warriors shapes to pass against the Panthers.

The Warriors players held a clear-the-air emergency meeting and Elliott had them sweating overtime in the gym.

The coach kept faith with most of his players, who responded by beating the Newcastle Knights a week later before thumping the Brisbane Broncos 58-16.

Still, the 2013 Warriors failed to make the playoffs, and you wonder how much of a confidence-smasher the Panthers’ loss was.

3: May 6, 2000. Dragons 54 Warriors 0

Warriors players Robert Mears and John Simon were part of the 54-0 defeat to the Dragons in 2000.

SANDRA TEDDY / PHOTOSPORT

Warriors players Robert Mears and John Simon were part of the 54-0 defeat to the Dragons in 2000.

Nathan Brown will have fonder memories of this one.

The current Warriors coach was the Dragons’ hooker and skipper when they stuck nine tries on Mark Graham’s Warriors in Wollongong.

A star-studded Dragons backline ran riot against some flimsy Warriors defense, with Nathan Blacklock grabbing a hat-trick of tries and Mark Gasnier a double.

The Warriors had the class of Stacey Jones and skipper John Simon in the halves, but were played off the park by a Dragons side devoid of six regulars.

Warriors coach Mark Graham at a press conference.  He was at a loss to explain his team's 'worst performance of the year' after a 54-0 defeat to the Dragons in 2000.

Getty Images

Warriors coach Mark Graham at a press conference. He was at a loss to explain his team’s ‘worst performance of the year’ after a 54-0 defeat to the Dragons in 2000.

Coach Graham conceded it was “quite comfortably ” the Warriors ‘worst performance of the year, saying:“ We were never in the game … we were standing around watching them and they hurt us.’ Nine times.

The Warriors rebounded to win their next two matches, but still finished second-bottom after a maddeningly inconsistent season.

4: May 30, 2004: Roosters 58 Warriors 6

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Lance Hohaia of the Warriors stands dejected after a Roosters try during the NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors played at Aussie Stadium, May 30, 2004 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Getty Images / Getty Images

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 30: Lance Hohaia of the Warriors stands dejected after a Roosters try during the NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors played at Aussie Stadium, May 30, 2004 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Monty Betham must have had a sinking feeling of deja vu in the television studio as he watched the Warriors get smashed by the Storm.

The present Sky Sports rugby league analyst captained the Warriors on the night they were resoundingly thrashed by Brad Fittler’s Roosters in the Sydney Football Stadium 18 years ago.

It was the game that cost Daniel Anderson – a NRL grand final coach in 2001 – his job. He was sacked two days later and replaced by assistant Tony Kemp.

Todd (Skinny) Byrne got two of the Chooks’ nine tries and must have impressed Warriors officials because they signed the Sydneysider the next season.

Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors is pushed towards the sideline by the Roosters defense in 2004.

Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors is pushed towards the sideline by the Roosters defense in 2004.

Queensland State of Origin center Justin Hodges helped himself to a hat-trick, current Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon kicked most of the Roosters’ goals and Kiwis prop Jason Cayless packed down in the front row.

Again, the Warriors rallied to win their next game, but they had just two more victories that season, to finish second-bottom again.

Stacey Jones later devoted a chapter in his book to the Warriors’ 2004 “season of hell ”.

5: June 18, 2000: Storm 56 Warriors 10

Stacey Jones, now a Warriors assistant-coach, was captain for the big loss to the Storm in Melbourne in 2000. (File photo).

Getty Images

Stacey Jones, now a Warriors assistant-coach, was captain for the big loss to the Storm in Melbourne in 2000. (File photo).

Stacey Jones – who was looking ashen-faced in the Warriors’ coaching box this week – was the skipper 22 years ago when the Warriors were also-rans at Melbourne’s Olympic Park.

The Storm, fielding Kiwis test hooker Richard Swain and New Zealand standoff Tasesa Lavea – amassed 10 tries, including four to Kangaroos test winger Matt Geyer.

Coach Mark Graham must have been gnashing his teeth as his injury toll lengthened with a dislocated shoulder to Shontayne Hape and a sprained ankle to Monty Betham.

Unlike the Dragons defeat earlier in the season, there was no Warriors bounce-back this time. They lost their next four matches and won just one more game, against the wooden spoon-earning Cowboys.

Graham lamented after the Melbourne mauling that the Warriors – average age 23 – lacked the same player depth as their NRL rivals – but the Kiwis’ player of the century wasn’t around for the rebuild, which saw the club make the grand final the following year – as 2000 proved to be his last coaching season.

Leave a Comment