NZ Warriors have earned their second win of the NRL season, with a much-improved performance against Brisbane Broncos, easing to a 20-6 victory at Redcliffe.
After scrapping their way over the line against Wests Tigers last weekend, the Warriors put on a much more organised and efficient display against the Broncos, leaning on a sturdy defensive effort and a dominant forward pack to finish with a comfortable two competition points.
Shaun Johnson's return from injury brought the controlled kicking game they sorely lacked over the past fortnight, with the halfback relentlessly pinning the Broncos deep in their own half.
That platform was laid by his forwards, with Addin Fonua-Blake and Matt Lodge leading the charge, as the Warriors consistently rolled through the all-important middle-third of the paddock.
Wing Marcelo Montoya was also outstanding - defusing star Broncos half Adam Reynolds' aerial bombardment - while promising centre Jesse Arthars had his best game yet in a Warriors jersey, finishing with a brace of tries. Fullback Reece Walsh was also at his electric best, continuing to showcase his improved all-round game.
Johnson made his presence felt immediately, taking the ball to the line and laying on a perfect short ball to send Arthars over untouched for the game's opening try after just five minutes.
The Warriors extended their advantage 15 minutes later, with Reece Walsh doing well to stay alive in the tackle and throw a long ball to take advantage of an overlap, sending Arthars over for his second of the day.
A late tackle then saw Thomas Flegler set to the sin bin, handing the Warriors a temporary one-man advantage, but they couldn't cash in, as the Broncos swiftly struck back through a touch of Reynolds brilliance, grubbering for himself and recollecting to go in behind the posts.
After making a superb spot tackle to shut down the Broncos raid, Montoya cashed in by latching on to a deft back-hand flick by Adam Pompey to soar into the corner, as the first half ticked away, giving the Warriors a 16-6 lead at the interval.
The Broncos emerged from the sheds with more purpose, but continued to commit errors, as the Warriors leaned on some stout defence and Johnson's kicking game.
Poor discipline though the final 10 minutes gifted Walsh two straightforward penalties for the only points of the second stanza, as the Warriors put the contest to bed.
The result lifts the Warriors - temporarily - into sixth place in the competition standings, with two wins and two losses from their first four games.
They'll face North Queensland Cowboys on Friday, when a much sterner test of their progress awaits.
NZ Warriors 20 (Jesse Arthars 2, Marcelo Montoya tries, Reece Walsh 4 penalty goals) Brisbane Broncos 6 (Adam Reynolds try, Adam Reynolds goal)