The Warriors’ upset win over the Dragons on Saturday was the feel good story of the NRL’s return to action.
The Auckland-based club has made a huge sacrifice in leaving family behind to travel to Australia in a bid to get the coronavirus interrupted season underway again.
Warriors players landed in Tamworth in early May, and after a two-week quarantine period, moved to their new base in Gosford before the season restarted over the weekend.
With so many disruptions and time spent away from home, the side were big underdogs heading into Saturday’s clash with the winless Dragons.
Despite being written off by many, Stephen Kearney’s side ran out 18-0 victors courtesy of tries to Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Eliesa Katoa and Kodi Nikorima.
Lawton, who came off the bench for his first match of 2020, said the side were motivated by emotional messages of support sent via video from back home.
“They played us a video on Friday night before the game just to touch base with the reason why we’re over here, the sacrifices we’ve made and what we’re doing it for,” he said on Monday.
“I think it touched home for a lot of the boys.
“It was quite an emotional video.
“I think the boys responded well to it. It’s a touching thing when all the families get on there and tell you how much they’re missing us.
“We’re doing it for them and all the boys did a really good job.
“The partners sent some really nice videos. It was an emotional little segment, but it was good.”
The Warriors will look to build on their solid performance when they travel to Campbelltown Stadium to play the Panthers on Friday night.
Penrith are coming off a 14-14 draw with an understrength Knights outfit and are facing a five-day turnaround.
“It’s definitely good to watch them doing a bit more work – it was a tough game of footy,” Lawton said.
“It’s always good if they’re going in with a bit heavier legs than we are.
“Fingers crossed it pays off on the weekend.
“It definitely does help us if they’ve played an extra couple of minutes, because they’ve been running pretty hot lately.”