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Warriors centre comes in for short praise

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Warriors centre David Fusitu'a racked up three tries, three line breaks, 13 tackles and 14 carries against the Knights on Sunday.

So how did new Warriors boss Stephen Kearney view his performance?

"Good," Kearney said.

No more, no less.

Despite Kearney's brevity, the 23-year-old got himself into all the right spots at Mount Smart Stadium as his side nabbed a late 26-22 victory.

A 14-minute first-half hattrick blew away the visitors, as Fusitu'a combined with livewires on either side of him to thrice crash over.

For the first, halfback Shaun Johnson received the ball on the right, cut out one defender with a dummy and sent Fusitu'a in to score.

He then pinched two more in the dying embers of the first stanza, as slices of Tui Lolohea and Johnson magic handed Fusitu'a his treble on a plate.

Back in the sheds, the taciturn Kearney was slightly more forthright with his centre - but only just.

"It was one of those ones where the assist was better than the try and I just had to put the ball down," Fusitu'a said.

"He just said good work out there and shook my hand and it was sweet - it's just part of the game."

Up 20-8 at the break, the Warriors were on the verge of throwing it all away against last year's wooden-spooners until Ryan Hoffman's 73rd-minute winner.

Fusitu'a acknowledged his side rode waves of anxiety through the second half but felt they would shake off their flakiness as weeks go by.

Whether a similar showing would be enough to dispatch 2016 runners-up Melbourne Storm next week was another matter entirely.

"We're still getting our combinations right, we're definitely going to come right soon," Fusitu'a said.

"There were patches in the game where I felt like we had a good roll-on, and there were patches where they had the upper hand.

"We're going to go back to the drawing board and work on things we need to work on."

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