Shaun Lane donned the New Zealand Warriors jersey for the first time at North Sydney Oval, and played an instrumental role in their 30-12 victory over the North Sydney Bears.
An 8-0 score-line at half-time perfectly represented a tough defensive contest, but the Warriors blew the game out of the park in the early stages of the second half with two quick tries, something the Bears could not recover from.
Mason Lino and Ata Hingano worked beautifully off the back of a dominant Warriors’ forward pack, while any chance at a Bears comeback was sparked by two outstanding plays by speedster fullback Michael Oldfield.
The Bears goal-line defence was tested early with Hingano and Lino forced two consecutive dropouts with classy grubbers, but the possession did not convert to points.
After a short defensive stint of their own, the Warriors eventually opened the scoring through Matthew Allwood, who reached over the line at full stretch to evade Oldfield and skilfully plant the ball down.
The Bears faced immense defensive pressure in the opening 20 minutes and were withstanding successfully, until a classy back-line movement by the Warriors caught them undone, with Ken Maumalo going over untouched to increase their lead to 8-0.
A tough second quarter of the game saw no points, with both sides aiming up in defence and forcing too many errors for either coaches liking. Consequently, the score remained 8-0 heading into half-time.
Immediately after the break, the Bears made an error that gifted the visitor’s immediate field position. It took another swift back-line movement – this time right-to-left – to again crack the Bears’ defence through Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Lino saved his first conversion of the afternoon with the kick from the most difficult spot with the toughest angle that increased the Warriors lead to 14-0.
Eli Levido had a kick charged-down by Ligi Sao as the Bears forced their way into the Warriors half, which led to a re-gather and offload to a charging Henare Wells, who broke away with his blistering speed to score.
Oldfield displayed a combination of fancy footwork and slick hands to set up the Bears first try, and what was the try of the afternoon. Oldfield darted down the left sideline, danced around the winger, cut-through another and threw an incredible offload for Dane Nielsen to run away and score under the posts.
Off the kick-off set, Oldfield was at it again and his individual brilliance had the North Sydney locals on their feet. He showed incredible skill and pace broke through the defensive line once again, eventually passed to Siosifa Talakai, who ran away and gave it off for Brad Dietz to decrease the deficit to 20-12.
The comeback looked on, until a Bears pass off the kick-off set found the turf, and Warriors five-eighth Ata Hingano put it on his boot multiple times towards the line, and eventually picked it up to score.
Viliami Kaveinga eventually put the final nail in the coffin, completing a dominant Warriors performance in their second consecutive week away from home.
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