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NZ Warriors, Manly play out NRL draw

NZ Warriors NRL rugby league
Tohu Harris and Wayde Egan try to stop a Manly Sea Eagles attack. PHOTO: NRL

The NZ Warriors showed plenty of heart and determination to stage a big comeback against Manly at Mt Smart, but could not quite seal their fourth straight win, settling for a draw.

Down 22-14 with two minutes to play, the Warriors put on a try for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and drew level through a Shaun Johnson penalty goal to send the game to extra-time but neither team could break the deadlock.


Manly scored first when Tom Trbojevic took the line on from close range and flicked a pass out the back which deflected into the in goal and was grounded by Dally Cherry-Evans who converted the try for a 6-0 lead.

The Sea Eagles attacked on the left side in the 24th minute and Tommy Talau sent a perfectly weighted kick back inside for Cherry-Evans to make it a double.

A big tackle by Talau and Jake Trbojevic forced an error from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the set from the kick-off and Manly capitalised with Tom Trbojevic sending a perfect pass over the top for Talau to cruise over untouched. 

With four minutes remaining in the half the home side finally got on the board when Tohu Harris showed his ball-playing skills to put Jazz Tevaga over from close range. Johnson converted to make the score 16-6.

On the break whistle, the home team then scored again from a Watene-Zelezniak intercept from Luke Brooks pass and took off for a 60-metre try.

Ben Trbojevic crossed courtesy of a Cherry-Evans pass and the margin was back to 12.

Warriors playmaker Johnson then came up with some dazzling footwork in the 53rd minute to run around Tom Trbojevic, however, Johnson missed a relatively easy conversion and the score remained 22-14.

The Warriors continued to push for a fourth try but when Johnson sent an attacking kick dead with six minutes to play it seemed to take the air out of the balloon but the halfback put Watene-Zelezniak over in the corner to set up a grandstand finish.

With the clock winding down to zero, Johnson launched a two-point field goal to try and tie the scores and had his legs taken out by Josh Aloiai so the Warriors received a penalty where the ball landed 12 metres out.

Johnson landed the penalty goal from in front and the game went to golden point before a mistake by Manly in the 84th minute handed the Warriors a chance to win but Harris spilled the ball in a tackle and the opportunity was lost.

Into the second period of extra time, Johnson missed a field goal shot from 30 metres out to hand Manly a seven-tackle set and Cherry-Evans had a long-range field goal shot that came up short.

The drawn was the NRL’s first since Manly and Newcastle played out a 32-32 draw in Round 5 last year.

NZ Warriors 22 (Jazz Tevaga, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2 tries, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson 2 con, pen) Manly Sea Eagles 22 (Daly Cherry-Evans 2 tries, Tommy Talau, Ben Trbojevic tries; Daly Cherry-Evans 3 con)


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