A scorching second half lifted the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to their first victory of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, powering past the Warriors 30-14 for a valuable victory on the road in Auckland.
After trailing 8-4 at the break, the Bulldogs scored 26 unanswered points in the second 40 to stun the Warriors into submission, with second-rower Jayden Okunbor the man to ignite Steve Georgallis’s side.
Discipline proved to be the Warriors’ downfall, with a glut of infringements seeing the hosts finish on the wrong end of a lopsided penalty count, and the extra defensive workload taking its toll in a second period when they hardly fired a shot.
After dodging an early bullet, when a Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad try was called back for a forward pass, it was the Bulldogs who took the initial lead seven minutes in, thanks to an individual effort from John Olive.
After back-to-back sets allowed them to set up camp in attacking territory, Olive got on the end of a Mason Cerruto pass and bumped off two would-be defenders before stretching out to ground the ball.
The Warriors quickly hit back via Lewis Soosemea, who scored his fourth try in two games, and on the half hour the hosts took the lead after a classy inside ball from Chanel Harris-Tavita put fullback Hayze Perham through a gaping hole.
Mason Lino pinged the conversion off the uprights, leaving the half-time score at 8-4.
After being guilty of poor execution in the attacking half through the opening stanza, the Bulldogs wasted no time in addressing it after the break, crossing twice in the space of 10 minutes to assume a 14-10 advantage.
First Jack Nelson barged his way over for close range following a string of Warriors ruck penalties, before Okunbor unleashed Olive down the left for a long-range run and his second try of the day.
With captain Rhyse Martin adding a conversion as well, the Bulldogs has suddenly wrestled momentum back their way.
With 20 minutes remaining the Bulldogs found another gear, going over twice in quick succession to blow the lead out to 26-8.
It was Okunbor who was responsible for the first, charging down Lino’s driven kick out of his own half, before toeing the ball 30 metres to fall over the line, and minutes later off-season recruit Fa’amanu Brown danced his way through some tired defence for his side’s fifth try.
Martin converted both efforts, and added a penalty minutes later to soak up some clock and stretch the lead to 20 points.
Yet another ruck penalty from the Warriors gifted Martin with an easy two, but it was the Kiwi side who would finish the scoring through 18-year-old fullback Perham, who was arguably their best on ground in an otherwise disappointing day at the office.
A lovely late ball at the line from Harris-Tavita saw Perham crash through for his second of the day with a minute left on the clock.
Up next the Bulldogs head to GIO Stadium to face Mounties, while the Warriors go on their first road trip of the year to face Penrith at St Marys Leagues Stadium.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30 (J Olive 2, J Nelson, J Okunbor, F Brown tries; R Martin 5 goals) def Warriors 14 (H Perham 2, L Soosemea tries; M Lino goal)