A heart-stopping match at Leichhardt Oval has seen the Wyong Roos qualify for the 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW Grand Final.
The Roos got out to an absolute flyer thanks to the brilliance of Jayden Nikorima and Joey Manu, but the Warriors fought back at the death and brutally attacked the Wyong line in the final few minutes to create a tense finish.
Wyong got off to a perfect start thanks to the individual brilliance of Joey Manu, who took the line on, showed the ball back inside but backed his lightning speed to complete a short-side raid and get over the line for the first points of the afternoon.
The Warriors had the majority of field position for the next part of the game, but a simply incredible catch by Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck saved one opportunity, before Nat Butcher held up Ata Hingano in a desperate try-saving tackle when he looked certain to score.
Wyong kept turning the Warriors away, but at the same time their execution was slightly off with kicks not finding the mark and some passes trickling into touch.
Jayden Nikorima threatened to break the game open with a bust up the middle of the field which didn’t lead to points, but managed to go one step better in the final moments of the first half. He received the ball inside his own half, chipped over the top, re-gathered and raced away to score an amazing individual score to increase their lead to 12-0.
The Roos began the second half exactly as they did the first, with Manu capturing his second try once again thanks to the skill and individual brilliance of the rising-star.
At 16-0 the Warriors needed to score next to be any chance of a 2017 Grand Final berth, and the ever-reliable Toafofoa Sipley stepped up to the plate with a powerful barge-over try adjacent to the posts.
While that try was pure strength, the next was pure finesse when Jazz Tevaga weaved through the Wyong defence at short-range, putting two sharp steps on two defenders to score a beautiful looking try to reduce the margin to 16-12.
For the final five minutes of the match, the Warriors relentlessly attacked the Wyong line but the Roos constantly turned them away. After three consecutive sets, the Roos finally received the ball with only seconds on the clock, and kicked the ball out to complete the game.
There was confusion at the end of the game with the Warriors packing a scrum while the Roos celebrated the win, but the referee eventually called full-time to ensure the Roos advance to the grand final next week.
The NSWRL senior competitions’ finals series, covered like never before on NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL Facebook page, culminate on Grand Final Day at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 24 September. Be there to witness history, with tickets just $10 for adults and children under 12 free.