2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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Vodafone Warriors standoff Jerome Ropati made a try-scoring return from injury in the Bartercard Cup on Saturday.
Unable to play in the club's three preseason trials as well as their first five NRL matches of the year, the 22-year-old finally had a taste of on-field action for the Auckland Lions.
An earlier effort to play his first game of the year for the Vodafone Auckland Lions in the New South Wales Premier League was stalled when he had more problems with a hamstring injury.
But he lined up for the Bartercard Cup champions in an away match against Harbour League, helping them to a narrow 26-22 victory after they had led 14-0 at halftime.
Former Vodafone Warrior Jeremiah Pai scored tice for Harbour.
The Canterbury Bulls, beaten in last year's grand final, had a massive 72-8 win against the Waicoa Bay Stallions while the Tamaki Titans and the Northern Storm also topped 50 points.
The Titans accounted for the Central Falcons 62-14. Vodafone Warriors winger Cooper Vuna scored twice while Constantine Mike and Leeson Ah Mau - both regulars with Vuna in the Vodafone Auckland Lions - scored a try each. With the premier league side having the bye, the opportunity was taken to give Vuna, Mika and Ah Mau some more game time.
The Storm had one of their best results in toppling the Counties Manukau Jetz 54-28.
In the remaining match of the round, the Waitakere Rangers had a 36-28 victory over the Wellington Orcas.
At Birkenhead War Memorial Park, Auckland:
Auckland Lions 26 (H Mathews 2, J Ropati, K Wright S Fa