Elinya Chenery reviews the early Friday clash between the NZ Warriors and Canterbury-Bankstown …
NZ Warriors 42
Tries: Edward Kosi 2 (18, 76), Viliami Vailea (6), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (11), Eliesa Katoa (56), Shaun Johnson (74), Addin Fonua-Blake (79).
Goals: Reece Walsh 7 (8, 12, 20, 57, 75, 77, 79).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18
Tries: Jake Averillo (16), Kyle Flanagan (43), Josh Addo-Carr (50).
Goals: Matt Burton 3 (17, 44, 51).
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Whilst neither of the teams involved in the early Friday night game will play finals, the bottom eight match-up between the Warriors and Bulldogs provided an entertaining competition with some stand out moments in front of a vocal crowd at Mt. Smart Stadium. Despite the final result appearing as though the Warriors secured a dominant victory, this game was in the balance for a much longer period than the full-time scores would suggest…
The opening quarter of the match was full of both action and points, with all four first half tries being scored during this period.
An early high shot landed Braidon Burns on report and saw the home side strike first through a silky pass from halfback Shaun Johnson to Viliami Vailea, allowing the centre to stroll through the Bulldogs’ line.
Whilst Josh Addo-Carr was indeed on the field, it would the man he was marking in Dallin Watene-Zelezniak that would run away for a length-of-the-field try off the back of an intercept from a Matt Burton pass.
A line break saw Burton dragged down within a metre of the Warriors’ line only minutes later, with a quick play from Aaron Schoupp at dummy half shuffling the ball off to a rampaging Jake Averillo for the visitors’ opening points of the evening.
Ending the first half scoring on the 20 minute mark, Edward Kosi – who scored a hat trick last time he played at Mt. Smart Stadium a fortnight ago – crossed over for his first of the match following a set play from a scrum on the Bulldogs’ 10 metre line.
With a try to Kyle Flanagan from a Reece Walsh knock-on and Addo-Carr getting one back with an intercept and length of the field try himself – all within the opening 10 minutes of the second half – it seemed as though this game would go right down to the wire with scores level at 18-all. Whilst an Eliesa Katoa try would give the New Zealand outfit some breathing room, the Bulldogs did all they could in an attempt to claw their way back and give themselves a chance at walking away with the two points.
Following a tense period of back-and-forth footy, something finally gave in the Bulldogs’ defence and the Warriors ended this match in the same fast-scoring fashion in which they started it. With late tries to Shaun Johnson and Addin Fonua-Blake, as well as a second to Kosi in rapid succession, the Warriors flipped their score from 24 to 42 within the final five minutes of play and secured their second victory back on home soil.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Shaun Johnson (Warriors), 2 pts – Reece Walsh (Warriors), 1 pt – Edward Kosi (Warriors)
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