NRL: NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster praises Te Maire Martin's impact in Warriors resurgence, as Shaun Johnson return nears

NZ Warriors' take-no-prisoners approach and supreme discpline were the key factors behind their dominant 42-12 win over North Queensland Cowboys, says head coach Andrew Webster.

Rejuvenated from their bye week, the Warriors shot off the blocks at Townsville, running in three early tries, before applying the figurative foot to the throat of the Cowboys, who were never in the contest.

The Warriors' third consecutive win lifts them to a provisional 10th in the competition standings, setting the stage perfectly for a blockbuster home clash with Melbourne Storm next weekend.

Warriors players celebrate a try.
Warriors players celebrate a try. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We came here with plenty of confidence," said Webster. "We knew, if we did what we wanted to do, we would get what we wanted.

"The boys were great. I thought the boys were really disciplined and smart, I just loved our ruthless we were early.

"Coming off the bye, the boys were always going to be excited to play at speed. The worry for me was that we were going to overcook it, because we were so excited, but I think the boys were really disciplined and smart.

"I just loved how ruthless we were early and how disciplined we were. That was the best part."

Among a host of standouts, half Te Maire Martin shone brightest for the Warriors, returning to his former home ground to deliver arguably the best performance of his NZ tenure to date.

Martin laid on a staggering four try assists, while expertly controlling the contest with his kicking game.

"Awesome," said Webster of Martin's efforts. "Te Maire has played a good three games now, and he's been clinical and so important for us.

"He's been the glue and I'm just so happy for him. He spent a lot of time up here, so he knew what he was doing back on a bit of familiar territory, but he's been awesome.  

"Release him and let him play a bit, and you get to see the best of him. I've learnt plenty about him."

Martin has been the one constant in the NZ halves through their past three wins, pairing with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Chanel Harris-Tavita, as Shaun Johnson recovers from a shoulder injury.

With Johnson on track to return against the Storm, Webster says he'll look to base his selections on a 'horses for courses' approach.

"I think the big thing we've worked around that is we can adapt our style for the individual and how we want to play, and when Shaun comes back, we can adapt that again," he explained.

"I'm just so proud of anyone who's played in that position. I think many clubs would love the depth in the halves and I'm grateful we've got it.

"It puts us in the right steps for the future too. When Shaun comes back, we're going to make sure it works for everyone and everyone gets to display their strengths - Shaun gets to show how good he is, and Chanel and Te Maire will play a big pivotal role somewhere.

Captain Tohu Harris says the clinical allround display against the Cowboys was the culmination of the team's incremental improvements, after their sluggish start to 2024.

"It was awesome to be a part of," he said. "The last two games, we showed a lot of grit and spirit, and tonight was just a little polish on top of that.

"We still had the traits we showed the last couple of games, with the intensity we defended with, and just to be able to score some points on the back of defending well [was great]."

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