NRL: NZ Warriors pledge to bounce back from 'embarrassing' blowout against Gold Coast Titans

An embarrassed NZ Warriors outfit have promised to quickly put their dismal 66-6 defeat to Gold Coast Titans behind them, when they return home to an already soldout Go Media Stadium next week.

The Auckland NRL side have apologised to their fans - including the thousands that flocked to Gold Coast's Cbus Super Stadium to support the visiting team - after barely firing a shot against their bottom-of-the-table rivals, who have now claimed their scalp twice this season. 

In the scramble to identify scapegoats, coach Andrew Webster has had to defend veteran halfback Shaun Johnson, who had another subdued performance in his second game back from a shoulder injury and ultimately limped off with a possible hamstring tweak.

Despondent Warriors reflect on their Gold Coast no-show.
Despondent Warriors reflect on their Gold Coast no-show. Photo credit: Photosport

Johnson hasn't been part of a winning Warriors performance since their round five victory over South Sydney Rabbitohs in early April.

"They're devastated," reflected Webster. "We had such an amazing turnout here today... plenty of support, trained really well, came off the back of some confidence and, physically, we were really, really poor.

"The boys know it, they're devastated. The Titans are so fast and when you don't turn up, they're capable - any team are capable - of destroying you, and they did that."

Since going five weeks without victory, the Warriors seemed to have turned their season around with three consecutive wins and a competitive loss against tabletopping Melbourne Storm, when they ticked off all their key performance indicators without luck.

This display came completely out of the blue.

"It's amazing, you can't take anything for granted in this game," said Webster. "You think you're going well... I didn't see us complacent or anything like that.

"We were confident, not over-confident, but if you take things for granted, you can get kicked in the face pretty quick. It's why this game is so good, because it's not easy.

"We obviously took for granted how well we were going and what we did to prepare, and we got what we deserved."

After missing out on the Dally M Medal by one vote last season, Johnson has struggled with niggly injuries and has not been able to impose himself on games the same way during the current campaign.

Recent Warriors success has been achieved without him on the park, and with Te Maire Martin and Chanel Harris-Tavita combining effectively in the halves.

Marcelo Montoya rises high to claim a kick against Gold Coast.
Marcelo Montoya rises high to claim a kick against Gold Coast. Photo credit: Photosport

"I think if we had turned up today and we were physical, and we really went after the opposition and wanted to win that battle, you might have seen the best of Shaun today," insisted Webster. "At the end of the day, we got rolled completely down the field and every single player was accountable for that.

"If we had heaps of ball and go-forward, and our defence was amazing, we could start talking about halfbacks and fullbacks and hookers, and how could we improve things and change things. Today, we weren't there physically and we were absolutely dominated.

"To be talking about those things off the back of that, I just think it's the wrong day for it."

The Warriors will now return to a full house at their traditional Mt Smart home, hoping to flush a performance that equalled their worst-ever losing deficit.

"We've got to repay the faith they've [fans] have had in us," admitted captain Tohu Harris. "Their support for us has been outstanding, like the fans that live away from New Zealand.

"We are embarrassed with the performance we put out there tonight and the thought of doing that at home just doesn't sit well. We can't afford to have two of those in a row."