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NZ Warriors move into NSW Cup top-six

A 26-20 win over the Sydney Roosters has stretched the NZ Warriors’ unbeaten streak to four matches and moved them up to sixth place on the New South Wales Cup points table.

Heading into Sunday’s contest at North Harbour Stadium, the Warriors had beaten St George Illawarra, drawn with Penrith and edged Newcastle in the past three weeks to turn their season around after indifferent results early on.


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They had a battle initially to maintain their momentum against a Roosters side sitting behind them in the standings.

The visitors opened with a second minute try to loose forward Zach Dockar-Clay followed 12 minutes later by a Warriors touchdown through wing Marcelo Montoya before the Roosters scored twice to take a 14-4 lead into the halftime break.

From there the Warriors turned the contest on its head with a withering onslaught in the third quarter which saw them score four tries in 21 minutes to convert a 10-point deficit into a 26-14 lead.

It started with SG Ball Cup players Makaia Tafua and Kayliss Fatialofa scoring inside the first five minutes of the second half, Ben Farr converting both to put his side 16-14 ahead.

Ben Farr NZ Warriors NSW Cup rugby league
Ben Farr and the NZ Warriors staged a comeback to beat the Sydney Roosters in the NSW Cup. PHOTO: NSW CUP

A 55th-minute try to second rower Eddie Ieremia extended the advantage to 20-14 before a fifth try to prop Tanner Stowers Smith, converted by Farr, gave the Warriors a 26-14 lead with 19 minutes to play.

The Roosters trimmed the margin to six points 13 minutes from time but the Warriors successfully negotiated the final stages to emerge with their fifth win of the season which, together with their draw against Penrith, lifted them to 11 points.

They were without two of their regular players, with wing Edward Kosi called into the NRL team and fullback Taine Tuaupiki was the 18th man in Sydney.

Kosi was replaced by experienced first grader Montoya and Geronimo Doyle was moved to fullback, while there were two other changes to the lineup originally named as centre Ali Lauitiiti and halfback Paul Roache both returning from injury.

Meanwhile, the Warriors fell short in their bid for a comeback win in their Round 10 Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) encounter with the Sydney Roosters at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday.

Seeking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches, the Warriors came back from 22-12 down at halftime to twice push for a late winning chance.

A Ben Peni try in the first minute of the second half hauled the home side right back into the contest trailing 22-18.

Then the Roosters went out to 28-18 lead with their fifth try before prop Toby Crosby powered over for his second four pointer to leave the Warriors just six points adrift 28-22 with 11 minutes to play.

There was not to be a third strike back, though, with the Roosters going over late to take out a 34-22 victory.

Earlier, the Roosters had raced to a 16-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes before the Warriors rallied with tries to Presley Seumanu and Crosby to trail 16-12.


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