General Warriors keep cowboys scoreless


The New Zealand Warriors have dealt the finals hopes of the North Queensland Cowboys a telling blow after claiming a 26-0 victory before a crowd of 5425 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

The Warriors led 12-0 after a tough first half and continued the relentless assault to crush the Cowboys in the final 40 minutes.

Heading into the contest boasting five victories from the last five exchanges between the clubs, the Cowboys had promised to return to the winners' circle.

However, the loss against the Warriors does not bode well for last year's finalists who have now lost three matches in a row.

The Cowboys showed persistence early on in attack but the home side's defence held strong.

Greasy conditions made ball control difficult and points were hard to come by in the opening stages.

Nine minutes into the match and with both sides yet to register on the scoreboard, the Warriors saw their best attacking opportunity go begging when halfback Grant Rovelli sent a grubber-kick just too deep.

Then, courtesy of a knock-on from Cowboys centre Ashley Graham, the Warriors finally broke the deadlock in the 14th minute.

With tackles to spare and camped only 20 metres from the Cowboys' line, centre Simon Mannering eyed the gap and slipped through for an easy try in the corner.

The Warriors then had a chance to compound the visiting side's woes shortly after when Cowboys wing Neil Sweeney fumbled the ball 30 metres out to gift them another attacking opportunity.

However, this time the visitors' line proved tougher to break and the hosts' chance of extending their lead was dismissed.

Lance Hohaia, assuming the kicking duties in the absence of Tony Martin, then slotted over the night's first penalty with nine minutes left in the half to break the monotony after second-row Louis Anderson was held down too long in the tackle.

With less than a minute left before the siren, Warriors prop Sam Rapira then made up for an earlier fumble with a barnstorming try.

Five-eighth Jerome Ropati did well to draw in the flimsy Cowboys defence before sending Rapira crashing over to see the Warriors take a 12-0 lead into the break.

The assault resumed three minutes after the interval when Warriors wing Manu Vatuvei found himself unmarked out wide and well-placed to waltz over for an easy try.

Then, 55 minutes into the contest, Rovelli looked to have crossed the line to extend the host's lead with a 30 metre dash.

However, upon closer analysis from the video referee, Warriors fullback Brent Webb was penalised for obstruction.

With the clock winding down and the Auckland heavens opening wide again, the handling errors crept back into the match.

Luke O'Donnell then summed up a night to forget for the visitors after being sent off by referee Gavin Badger for deliberately elbowing Hohaia's face in the 69th minute.

After a brief recovery with the trainer, Hohaia had the last laugh shortly after when he raced away to the corner to score following the O'Donnell penalty.

However, Hohaia was far from finished and in the 77th minute he burrowed over the line for another easy try.

This proved to be the final scoring play of the match as the Warriors defended staunchly in the dying minutes to secure the victory.

Warriors 26
Tries: Hohaia 2, Mannering, Rapira, Vatuvei
Conversions: Hohaia 2
Penalties: Hohaia

Cowboys 0
HT Warriors 12-0


Anyone feel sorry for the Cowboys....? LOL. Nah! They derserved what they got!! :p

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