Warriors fight back to see off Knights
The Warriors have bolstered their aspirations of a top-four finish on the NRL ladder by coming from behind to see off Newcastle 20-12 at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday.
The two sides were separated only by points differential before kickoff, and victory for the Warriors saw them return to sixth spot with the Knights remaining in eighth.
The Knights' defeat meant they could finish the weekend just two points above teams outside the top eight, leaving them with a nervous final three weeks.
The Knights hadn't won in Auckland for six years, and had lost seven of their previous eight encounters with the Warriors, but were the stronger side for most of the game, and will be wondering how they let the match slip.
The contest swung the Warriors' way midway through the second spell when tries in quick succession from halfback Shaun Johnson and skipper Simon Mannering followed by a late four-pointer from Feleti Mateo to seal the win.
Newcastle were first to strike midway through the opening period, with winger Akuila Uate streaking down the touchline to dive on a Jarrod Mullen cross kick.
It was the NSW winger's 14th try of the season and his seventh in his past four matches.
The Warriors finally got their attack in order as a slick backline move created the opening for centre Shaun Berrigan to go over.
But on the stroke of halftime, the Knights regained the lead when veteran centre Adam MacDougall forced the ball down despite plenty of defenders on him.
It was MacDougall's 13th try in 11 matches against the Warriors and fullback Kurt Gidley's second sideline conversion took the visitors out to a 12-4 halftime lead.
The Warriors continued to struggle to get things going but midway through the second half got the 13,279 crowd on the their feet with an 80m try.
Prop Russell Packer's offload sent winger Manu Vatuvei on a big run and Johnson was on hand to continue the move and score in the corner.
Down 12-8, the Warriors found themselves in excellent field position shortly when a great Johnson kick on the final tackle was followed by a Uate knock on.
On the next possession, a kick in-goal by Johnson bounced around before Mannering pounced to score.
Maloney's first conversion pushed the home side in the lead for the first time, before second rower Mateo made sure of the points.
NRL thriller - Vodafone Warriors 20, Newcastle 12
The Vodafone Warriors moved back into sixth place on the NRL ladder with a brilliant second jhalf display to beat Newcastle 20-12 in tonight's 23rd-round clash at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.
After being 4-12 down at halftime, the home side put together a run of 16 unanswered points nto move to 28 points on the table, effectively securing their place in the NRL finals.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 20 (Shaun Berrigan, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering, Feleti Mateo tries; James Maloney 2 conversions).
Newcastle Knights 12 (Akuila Uate, Adam MacDougall tries; Kurt Gidley 2 conversions).
Halftime: 12-4 Knights.
Referees: Shayne Hayne and Adam Devcich.
NYC home run hits 18 - Vodafone Junior Warriors 44, Newcastle 8
The Vodafone Junior Warriors were back in wrecking ball mood as they overpowered Newcastle 44-8 in tonight’s 23rd-round NYC match at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.
After being forced to settle for a 26-26 draw against Brisbane last week, the John Ackland-coached 2010 NYC premiers rediscovered their best form with eight tries to win their 18th consecutive home game since May last year, 17 of them at Mount Smart Stadium and one at Eden Park.
In all they’ve won 20 straight matches in New Zealand during that period including ‘away’ games against the Sydney Roosters in Christchurch and Cronulla in Taupo.
With first-choice standoff Carlos Tuimavave cleared to make his return from a nagging hamstring injury, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were able to field their strongest side in several weeks.
It didn’t take long for Tuimavave to make a contribution when he scored the side’s first try after 16 minutes and later made a long break before giving winger DJ Collier an unopposed run to the line.
With three tries in the first half including one to man mountain Samiuela Lousi, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were well on the way to success holding an 18-0 lead.
Centre Konrad Hurrell, who missed the Brisbane trip, was again outstanding. He leads all players in the NYC for most average metres gained per game, most line breaks and most tackle breaks. Tonight he boosted his numbers even more as he scored two tries and, according to provisional match statistics, he made 213 metres from 18 runs, added 14 tackle breaks and four off loads as well as a try assist.
Collier also had a big night collecting 16 points from a try and six conversions, keeping him out in front as the NYC’s leading scorer with 230 points. He also gained 187 metres from 18 runs.
Not unexpectedly fullback Omar Slaimankhel was among the try scorers with the final four-pointer of the night, giving him 25 in 21 games so far this season.
Among the forwards John Palavi (18 runs, 162 metres) and Sebastine Ikahihifo (15 runs, 147 metres) made major contributions.
With their 17th win of the season, the Vodafone Junior Warriors now have 39 points with three more games to go in the minor premiership. Their nearest challengers the Cronulla Sharks (35 points) play the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Monday night.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 44 (Konrad Hurrell 2, Carlos Tuimavave, Eko Malu, Samiuela Lousi, DJ Collier, Adam Henry, Omar Slaimankhel tries; DJ Collier 6 conversions).
Newcastle Knights 8 (James Elias, Ethan Cook tries).
Halftime: 18-0 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Referee: Henry Perenara.
Team: Omar Slaimankhel; Adam Henry, Sosaia Feki, Konrad Hurrell, DJ Collier; Carlos Tuimavave, Jordan Meads; Siulongua Fotofili, Eko Malu, Donald Tony; Sebastine Ikahihifo, Ben Henry (c); John Palavi. Interchange: Samiuela Lousi, Siliva Havili, Agnatius Paasi, Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
Tight NSW Cup win - Auckland Vulcans 28, Wentworthville 20
Vodafone Warriors fullback Glen Fisiiahi snared a hat-trick and utility Lance Hohaia made a try-scoring return from injury to help the Auckland Vulcans to a 28-20 victory over Wentworthville in today's New South Wales Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The match was the first of a triple header bill to be followed by the Vodafone Junior Warriors facing Newcastle in a 23rd-round NYC fixture and the Vodafone Warriors taking on the Knights in their NRL encounter.
Fisiiahi, with four NRL appearances behind him earlier this season, was electrifying in the first half, scoring his first try when he backed up a dummy half break by 178-game NRL veteran Hohaia. For his second he soared to take a bomb near his line, stepped through the chasing line and scorched 90 metres to score.
Initially at fullback and later shifted to the wing, Fisiiahi had his third try immediately after halftime with Hohaia again the provider.
Hohaia was having his first run since being sidelined with a knee injury in the Vodafone Warriors' 36-12 win over Canterbury-Bankstown on July 15. After starting at hooker, he had a stint at fullback and later shifted into the halves teaming up with another long-time NRL campaigner Brett Seymour.
Hohaia scored the side's third try, sparked when hooker Alehana Mara linked with Seymour, who made an incision before popping an inside ball to centre Lewis Brown. Brown opened Wentworthville up with a half break, handing off to Hohaia for a clear run to the line.
After bolting to a 22-4 lead straight after the break with Fisiiahi's third try, the Vulcans rather lost their way, Wentworthville benefiting from a heavy flow of possession to score three unanswered tries to cut the score to 20-22; the visitors would have been on at least level terms with improved goal-kicking.
It led to a tense final stanza until the Vulcans put the game out of reach when Vodafone Warriors winger Krisnan Inu scored inside the last minutes, Seymour converting to open up an eight-point lead.
With second-placed Cronulla suffering an 8-16 upset loss to Western Suburbs today, the Vulcans have jumped into second spot on the ladder on 34 points, two behind leader Canterbury-Bankstown which plays sixth-placed North Sydney tomorrow.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Auckland Vulcans 28 (Glen Fisiiahi 3, Lance Hohaia, Krisnan Inu tries; Brett Seymour 4 conversions).
Wentworthville 20 (Brenden Waters, Troy Savage, Manase Manuokafoa, Danny Howard tries; Tom Humble 2 conversions).
Halftime: 18-4 Vulcans.
Referee: Jon Stone.
Auckland Vulcans: Glen Fisiiahi; Johnny Aranga, Krisnan Inu, Lewis Brown, Ivan Penehe; Brett Seymour, Isaac John; Mataupu Poching, Lance Hohaia, Jeremy Latimore; Steve Rapira, Sione Lousi; Darin Kingi. Interchange: Alehana Mara, Matt Robinson, James Gavet, Saulala Houma.