Big-money recruits deliver for Warriors
THE Warriors' spending spree on an all-conquering, all-international spine has produced its first payday, delivering a thrilling 28-22 victory over an injury stricken Titans outfit.
Big money recruit Kieran Foran took the field for the home side, some 307 days, a false start and all manner of off-field issues since his last NRL outing.
His combination with fellow Kiwi stars and big earners Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke delivered an impressive pay-off, with the quartet's creative brilliance covering for some typically woeful defensive efforts that saw the Titans skip to a 22-12 halftime advantage.
While ever the Warriors continue with their lackadaisical efforts without the ball in hand, they will remain in the red.
But with so much outlaid on their numbers 1, 6, 7 and 9, the initial forecast from their first outing is a promising one.
The rare sight of Luke running with the abandon of old was a welcome one in the opening try for Johnson.
So too Tuivasa-Sheck's own electrifying running game - still on its way back after a crippling ACL rupture - which kept the Warriors in it after they conceded four first half tries.
Some of those defensive errors that led to them, eyesores only the Warriors could produce.
The Titans own recruit Dale Copley - who they paid a pretty penny to secure from the Roosters - had a field day out on the right, twice breezing past the much-maligned Blake Ayshford for points in the first half.
Later a poor defensive miss from big man Sam Lisone led to Kane Elgey's 31st minute try. A similar lapse allowed Tyrone Roberts to lay on another for his five-eighth almost immediately after.
That sent the Gold Coast into the sheds with a four tries to two advantage, but when Tuivasa-Sheck's second half salvo was followed by Roberts limping off with an ankle injury, the Warriors money men cashed in.
The attack remained scatterbrain at times, with Johnson's long balls and punts on a whim still reeking of a man so used to doing everything on his own.
But the subtleties that star power can buy balanced out the throwaways. Case in point: the crafty kick from Luke preceded the Foran try that levelled the contest at the 62nd minute.
Sleight of hand again from the man of the moment, dummying and sliding past Kiwi teammate Kevin Proctor, who was half a step behind the game when Foran was one ahead.
From there came the arm wrestle, a Titans outfit so long out of the contest now threatening to pinch it from a Warriors mob so unaccustomed to it.
First Johnson sprayed a field-goal attempt, then Elgey matched it. Ryan Hoffman, sensing his moment, had a crack as well.
As honest a toiler as any, Hoffman had mistimed his run, but not by much. From the ensuing set, it was the veteran back-rower crashing through for the clincher, Johnson delivering the money ball.