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Depleted NZ Warriors upset the Dolphins


The NZ Warriors have once again defied the odds to down a top-four NRL side, beating the Dolphins 24-20 at Mt Smart Stadium..


With 10 of their regular first-grade team out, it was an understrength side with their backs against the wall.


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Late exclusions included Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad with illness, Taine Tuapiki (birth of child), Addin Fonua-Blake (stood down) and Rocco Berry with a hand injury, all changes to the original side named.


However, fill-in halfback Te Maire Martin once again steered the side in front of a sell-out as error from Edward Kosi let the Dolphins Jamayne Isaako to dive over in the right corner for the opening try. 


The Dolphins crossed for a second in the 16th minute when Herbie Farnworth picked up a loose Euan Aitken offload before stepping inside several Warriors defenders to score.


The home side hit back just five minutes later when Marcelo Montoya beat Dolphins defenders to a Martin bomb before finding Chanel Harris-Tavita on the inside to score. 


The Warriors have beaten the odds and Dolphins in their latest NRL clash
Back-to-back wins for the NZ Warriors, this time over the Dolphins in front of a packed Mt Smart crowd. PHOTO: NRL

Farnworth then split the defence and exploded into space before finding Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in support who finished off the long range try. Isaako converted for a 16-6 lead


Martin got one back for the Warriors seven minutes before the break, highlighting his speed and footwork to dummy his way through defenders and reduce the deficit 16-12. 


The second half developed into an arm wrestle with both sides trading punches before the Warriors hit the front 27 minutes into the half when fill-in fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak crashed through after repeated sets on the line. 



With the weight of possession going their way late in the half the Warriors went further ahead with just 13 minutes left to play with Marata Niukore crashing through several would-be tacklers to put his side in front by eight.


In the 26th minute, Isaako scored his second in the right corner to set up a tight finish, but the Warriors defence held and Andrew Webster's side had their fifth victory for the season.


One big bonus for the Warriors was their discipline which held firm. They had no penalties against them compared to the Dolphins five.


NZ Warriors 24 (Chanel Harris-Tavita, Te Maire Martin, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Marata Niukore tries; Adam Pompey 4 con) Dolphins 20 (Jamayne Isaako 2, Herbie Farnworth, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow tries; Jamayne Isaako 2 con). HT: 12-16

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