Wyong basked in the Easter Sunday heat while the Warriors paid for a poor first half going down 20-36 in today’s fourth-round Intrust Super Premiership NSW clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
When the teams went to the sheds, the Roos had a scarcely credible 36-0 lead before holding on for a deserved victory.
There was consolation for the Warriors in a second half which yielded a 20-0 score-line in their favour but any satisfaction was tempered by the first half when they had looked anything but a team in form coming off back-to-back wins.
While prop Paul Tuli went close to scoring the first try of the match, Wyong was then able to feast on a rash of errors and penalties to take total control of the contest in the opening 40 minutes.
Tries flowed in the sixth, ninth, 18th and 24th minutes as the Roos skipped to a 24-0 lead.
Backing up a big break up the middle, Paki Afu – who appeared for the Vodafone Warriors in the New Siouth Wales Cup last year – backed up to finish off and three minutes later second rower Justin Toomey-White was able to score too easily.
The score kept climbing in increments of six points, the third Wyong try something of a gift. Searching for points, a floated wide pass to the left was seized on by Roos right wing Chris Centrone and he went more than 80 metres to cross.
In the 24th minute former Warrior Omar Slaimankhel scored against his old club as Wyong sustained its point-a-minute onslaught.
The Warriors weren’t able to settle at all, plagued as they were by errors and being on the end of too many penalties.
They went to their right side but another wide pass was plucked expertly by former Wigan wing Joe Burgess, who had too much speed on an 80-metre dash to the line. Another Tyler Cornish conversion made it 30-0.
Wyong wasn’t done, earning a repeat set from a penalty and finding more points as the Vodafone Warriors were unable to respond defensively. This time interchange forward Carne Doyle-Manga became his side’s sixth try scorer of the half completing an opening spell which was as grim for the home side as it was astonishing for the visitors.
The Warriors’ first half effort had been similar to the lethargic display they’d produced last week against Newtown. This time the damage on the scoreboard was too much to make up for but it didn’t stop the Warriors coming out a different side in the second 40 minutes.
Their defence had sting, there was intensity in their ball carries and an overall sense of intensity and urgency in their attitude.
Eventually there was success on the scoreboard, first through prop Upu Poching backing up through the middle to score under the bar in the 56th minute and then Ali Lauitiiti delivering the final pass for Maumalo to score in the corner three minutes later. Ata Hingano added the final touches and the score-line at least looked a little healthier at 12-36.
It improved further to 16-36 in the 71st minute when Maumalo won the race for chip in behind Wyong’s defensive line.
Right on fulltime there was more reward with a third try for Maumalo as he chased down a James Gavet grubber.
While the Warriors reduced the damage with a much-improved second half showing, victory was the least Wyong deserved after its first half display.
Both teams now have two wins each so far this season.
Coach Rip Taylor couldn’t have more satisfied with Wyong’s success, rating it a four-point game given the challenging nature of a trip to Auckland. He like the work of his halves Tyler Cornish and Omar Slaimankhel (switched from fullback), hooker Mitch Williams and front rower Zane Tetevano.
Warriors coach Stacey Jones lamented the first half performance but felt the second half effort atoned for it to some degree, especially the defensive intensity.
Wyong Roos 36 (Paki Afu, Justin Toomey-White, Chris Centrone, Omar Slaimankhel, Joe Burgess, Carne Doyle-Manga tries; Tyler Cornish 6 conversions) bt Warriors 20 (Ken Maumalo 3, Upu Poching tries; Ata Hingano 2 conversions)
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