The New Zealand Warriors continued their perfect start to the season with a 24-20 victory over the Newtown Jets.
Despite the Warriors leading at the break, the Jets were the better team of the first half, and the home side took the confidence of still being in front into the second half where they dominated.
Mason Lino was great as always, but it was the Warriors forward pack that set the platform with their big runs, tough tackles, and determined tries.
Lino darted out of the line while the Jets were on the attack, and when his tackle attempt on Fa’amanu Brown didn’t stick, they were consequently short on the left side; the ball travelled through the hands and Jordan Drew was unable to stroll over for the opening try with ease.
The Jets were able to absorb the pressure the Warriors put on them, consistently turning the home side away; no play more impressive than a fantastic try saving tackle by Penani Manumalealii and Matt Evans.
Eventually, they finally cracked the Jets’ line during a left-to-right shift when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad sold a dummy, and broke through Brown to score a strong try and lock the scores up.
Off the back of a scrum that seemingly took forever to pack, Jordan Drew scored his second try which was the exact opposite of his first, powering through with four players on his back, and planting the ball down for a determined try.
Drew was not the only player with two tries to his name for long when Lino made a break with a massive show-and-go, and Nicoll-Klokstad was lingering in support on his inside to score under the posts and take the lead heading into the sheds.
Newtown almost posted first points after the break when Evans attempted to bat back a grubber with too much weight on it, but the ball hit Jayden Walker who was also chasing, and went dead.
Off the back of a some great goal-line defence and then a penalty, the Warriors scored when Taniela Palavi showed strength and determination to bust through the defence and score under the posts to increase their lead to 16-8.
The Jets his straight back when Joseph Paulo threw a great pass to Walker, who had the ball stripped from his grasp in an attempt to score, but the ball hit the ground and Walker was able to pounce before the defence to score an unconventional try.
Paulo was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, but the Warriors didn’t bother to try and expose the short defenders on the edges when Albert Vete literally ran over the top of the Newtown defence to score a try which was an absolute power-play.
Patrick Sipley made a strong bust that set up the next try, as the defence was backtracking when he played the ball and Tui Lolohea was able to throw a great pass to Ofahiki Ogden who cruised through a hole to extend the lead to 10 points.
Fancy footwork by Brown set up Sam Tagataese for a fantastic looking try that set up an exciting finish, but the Jets were unable to score off their final set and the Warriors undefeated streak remains intact.