Hits and Misses: Johnson's miracle recovery blows Knights away

This week we take a look at the Warriors' opening blitz, a horror mistake by referee Ashley Klein, the miracle of Shaun Johnson's calf and Victor Radley's failed audition for the fullback position.

Read on as we take a look back at some of the biggest hits and misses of the weekend.


Opening blitz blew Knights away

The Warriors shocked the Knights early, opening up a 16-0 lead in the first 13 minutes, from which the visitors never recovered. With the enormous home crowd behind them, they were hunting in packs in defence from the opening set and with Shaun Johnson working his magic it wasn't long before the Knights defence was cracked.

Two minutes had yet to elapse when a Knights handling error allowed the Warriors to work a series of backline moves, with typical decoys and angled runs. The try came to the right, where Johnson's impeccable timing sent Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad past a feeble tackle to open the scoring.

With the weight of possession on their side, it was just four minutes later that Warriors forward Addin Fonua-Blake sweetly stepped his way through the line, after Wayde Egan had been held up minutes earlier. Johnson again threw the final pass to put the big man one-on-one with a defender. The Warriors led 10-0 and the Knights were stunned.

In the twelfth minute the Warriors worked the backline to the left and Montoya dived into the corner despite Tyson Gamble's desperate tackle. Adam Pompey converted from the tryline. The Warriors had completed eight out of eight sets, while the Knights had handled the ball for a total of five tackles.


Referee Klein's enormous blunder cruels Roosters' hopes

With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, Harry Grant tried to catch the ball as it rebounded off the top of a pack from a bomb ten metres out from the Storm line. The ball came off his fingertips and he desperately dived forward to regather before it hit the ground. Eagle-eyed Ashley Klein, standing not five metres away, missed the fact that the ball did indeed find the AAMI Park turf. Klein called play on and a couple of tackles later awarded the Storm their fifth penalty of the half, taking the count to 5-1.

The Storm worked their way downfield to score their second try and skip out to a 10-0 lead.

The depleted Roosters needed some breaks to upset the Storm in Melbourne. Up until that point in the game, the man with the whistle was certainly doing them no favours.


Miracle calf recovery sees Johnson star

The Warriors physio team need to be nominated for the Nobel Prize for medicine after the miracle they worked with Shaun Johnson's calf muscle. After missing the loss to the Panthers the week before, Johnson found himself in possession of the most talked about calf muscle since Sam Kerr hobbled about at Matildas' training.

With reports ranging from a strain to a tear, it seemed likely that the Warriors star half would either miss the Knights game completely, or at best be severely restricted in his movements. Many an "expert" suggested it might be best to give him another week to recover for the likely Broncos clash, as he could only be a liability on one leg. Instead we saw a vintage Johnson performance, running, passing, kicking, setting up tries, completely controlling the game.

He will need a repeat performance on Saturday if the Warriors are to beat the Broncos and make their way into the grand final.


Victor loses his head and the ball

With 22 minutes remaining, and the game between the Roosters and Storm still up for grabs at 10-6, Victor Radley positioned himself on his own try line under a Storm bomb. Having momentary delusions of being a fullback, presumably on fullback money, Radley tried to make sure he had one foot in the in-goal area to gain his side a seven-tackle restart from the 20 metre line.

Radley momentarily took his eye off the ball, a fatal error, and subsequently dropped the ball cold. From the ensuing possession the Storm were awarded a penalty in front for a high tackle on Cameron Munster. Storm fullback Nick Meaney stepped up to kick the goal to take the score to 12-6.

It may have been some consolation to Radley, had he tuned in for Saturday's game between the Knights and Warriors, to see Kalyn Ponga also spill a sitter. Ponga positioned himself under a high swirling ball and as he lay back to take the ball on his chest, it bounced off and led directly to a Warriors try. If the best fullbacks can do it, an amateur like Radley shouldn't feel too bad.