Steelers' dozen sends Warriors back to basics
ILLAWARRA centre Brett Rodwell exposed glaring weaknesses in the Auckland Warriors' defensive pattern by leading the Steelers to a 40-28 win in Wollongong yesterday.
Rodwell was the outstanding player in a 12-try extravaganza, crossing the Warriors' line four times.
And in doing so, Rodwell showed that the Warriors need to tighten their defence considerably to have any hope of competing in the big league.
The Warriors have now lost their opening two games, conceding 11 tries and showing poor defensive technique both up the middle and out wide.
John Monie's side are impressive with the ball, capable of scoring breathtaking tries, but won't get anywhere unless the tackling improves.
'It's an area we have to work on,' a glum Monie agreed. 'Some of the players are still coming to grips with the pace of the game in Australia.' The Steelers were always in the driving seat in a free-flowing match, with giant front-rower Darren Fritz leading the way up front.
Too big and strong for the Warriors forwards to handle, Fritz scored one try and laid on two others with his fearsome charges up the middle.
Half-back John Simon, who has started the year in superb form, created many of the chances for the backs out wide.
Simon scored the opening try after just 10 minutes, pushing aside three feeble tackles to put the Steelers on course for victory.
Rodwell, switched from full-back to centre shortly before the match, gave the Warriors nightmares with his powerful running.
The long-striding centre scored one try in the first half and three in the second to snatch Man of the Match honours from a host of good performers for the Steelers.
Although well out-gunned on the day, the Warriors still showed plenty of class.
Veteran full-back Phil Blake was in top form, scoring his team's opening two tries with exciting bursts.
On the international scene, Adrian Porter broke two tackles and dived over the tryline with five minutes remaining to give Ireland a 24-22 victory over the American Patriots in a rugby league international between the two fledgling sides in Washington.
Played before a few hundred in brilliant sunshine in Washington's Robert F. Kennedy Stadium - one of nine World Cup venues last summer, Porter's try rallied Ireland after they led 20-10 early in the second half.
The game marked the debut of the Irish national side, comprised of players from the Dublin Blues, English pros (including Wigan's Joe Lydon) and players from the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA).