Warriors thrash Bulldogs, Cowboys and Tigers make winning starts
New Zealand Warriors thrashed Canterbury Bulldogs 40-6 on an emotional Saturday at Mount Smart Stadium, while North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers also made winning starts in the NRL.
The Warriors made all remaining tickets free of charge a day after the Christchurch terror attacks, drawing a crowd of 18,795.
There was a poignant minute's silence for the 49 who lost their lives and dozens more who were injured in the massacres at two mosques on Friday.
Stephen Kearney's men then set about dominating the Bulldogs when they got their season under way, Blake Green turning on the style to prove the Warriors can cope without Shaun Johnson.
Green laid on three of four first-half tries for the home side, with Ken Maumalo, Solomone Kata, Adam Keighran and Nathaniel Roache dotting down.
Kata crossed again in the second half either side of scores from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Peta Hiku, while debutant Keighran finished with 16 points in a rout as the Bulldogs could only muster a converted Christian Crichton try in response.
The Cowboys made a winning start to life without Johnathan Thurston, seeing off St George Illawarra Dragons 24-12 at 1300SMILES Stadium.
New captain Michael Morgan set up four tries and scored one of his one, while Jason Taumalolo also caught the eye in an encouraging start for the Cowboys.
Robbie Farah grabbed a double as Wests defeated Manly Sea Eagles 20-6 at Leichhardt Oval.