By Dave Howard
The New Zealand Warriors held on to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs 18-14 at Eden Park despite having little ball for most of the game.
The Warriors had just 35 per cent of the ball but still did enough to get the two competition points.
In the end, both sides scored three tries with goal-kicking proving the difference in the end.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the ninth minute off the back of a penalty. The visitors spread the ball wide and Krisnan Inu was able to score in the corner. Inu couldn’t convert but Canterbury took the lead 4-0.
The Warriors were their own worst enemies, dropping too many balls in the opening 15 minutes of the game.
The New Zealanders were able to hang on to the ball enough to hit back in the 19th minute when Chad Townsend put Raymond Faitala-Mariner over for the try. The Warriors second-rower did well to stretch out to score. Townsend kicked the extras to put the home side ahead 6-4.
Canterbury winger Kayne Brennan went close to scoring but the last pass was deemed to have gone forward. Replays also showed that he had his foot on the sideline before he crossed the try line.
Bulldogs centre Levi Dodd was held up over the line on the half hour but they went over five minutes later when Tyrone Phillips scored off a kick from Drury Low to dive over in the corner.
From the re-start, Phillips put his foot on the touchline after taking the ball and Warriors were awarded the scrum. The Warriors made them pay with Feleti Mateo delivering a wonderful off-load for full-back Steve Waetford to score behind the sticks. Townsend kicked the easy conversion to give the Warriors a 12-8 lead at half-time.
Just two minutes into the second half, a cross field kick from Moses Mbye was knocked back by Phillips. It went into the arms of Jaline Graham who raced over to score. Inu’s conversion saw the Bulldogs ahead 14-12.
The Warriors had to wait until the 68th minute to reclaim the lead when Mateo put half-back Tuimoala Lolohea over for the try. Townsend kicked the goal to put his side in the lead 18-14.
Warriors winger Jarred Wilson almost added another try for the Warriors but the ball managed to touch the dead-ball line as he got his hand on the ball.
The Canterbury Bulldogs return to Belmore Sports Ground this weekend when they host the Wests Tigers while the Warriors tackle the Cutters at WIN Jubilee.
New Zealand Warriors 18 (R Faitala Mariner, S Waetford, T Lolohea tries; C Townsend 3 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 14 (K Inu, T Phillips, J Graham tries; K Inu goal) at Eden Park.