Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors)  Digital Image by Ian Knight © nrlphotos.com: NRL, Rugby League, Round 5, Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Monday April 6th, 2015.

Scouting Report: The Warriors

The visitors will present a very different proposition to what Storm faced back in Round 3.

That day Storm escaped from Mount Smart Stadium with a 21-14 win, handing the Warriors their third straight defeat to start the season.

However since then Andrew McFadden’s side have turned their season around, winning three of their past four games, their most recent a four-point triumph over the Bulldogs in Wellington.

A more adventurous attack, currently ranked fourth in the NRL, is a big reason for the improvement as a newly revamped core of this team has begun to find their feet.

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Isaac Luke
Was a late and big omission for the Warriors back in Round 3 however since then the star off-season recruit has begun to prove his worth. Often a thorn in Melbourne’s side whilst playing for the Rabbitohs, Luke has begun to steadily build strong combinations with his forwards and halves. The result has been a resurgent Warriors side that is capable of mixing it with the best teams in the competition on their day.

Shaun Johnson
After spending the early parts of the season regaining his match fitness, Johnson proved he was back to his best last week as he put the Bulldogs to the sword with three try assists. Storm fans do not need to be reminded of his match-winning ability at AAMI Park where in 2011 he proved the difference maker in the preliminary final. He presents a two-pronged threat with a dangerous passing and running game making him a key figure in Storm’s planning heading into Monday night. 

No RTS
A loss for both the Warriors and the blockbuster clash on Monday night. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was this week ruled out for the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament. It is a cruel blow to the Kiwi outfit as RTS has gained 400 more metres than his next Warriors teammate. It is not all doom and gloom though, Tuimoala Lolohea is the man entrusted with taking over the fullback duties. The 21-year-old showed he is more than capable of doing so when he finished the game against Canterbury with eight tackle breaks, two line breaks, one try assist and a try.