Bloodbath at Mt Smart

Round 25
New Zealand Warriors 42 v Sydney Roosters 16
at Mt Smart (Ericsson) Stadium
Referee: Russell Smith

Match Summary:

The New Zealand Warriors have crushed the spirits of Sydney Roosters today at Mt Smart Stadium, running out 42-16 winners in a very one-sided contest.

The final scoreline of 42-16 somewhat flattered the Roosters as the Warriors went on a rampage, including 4 tries to Jerome Ropati, to record a memorable victory in front of a strong home crowd of 12,711.

The game began at a fast pace with Brent Webb committing a blatant double movement in the 4th minute before Ruben Wiki scored five minutes later off a neat short ball by Grant Rovelli.

The home team backed it up soon after with Ropati?s first try of the day when club stalwart Awen Guttenbeil put him in a gap close to the line. In the 19th minute the Roosters gave their fans some hope after a failed Warriors raid resulted in a 70m burst from fullback Shaun Foley. From the ensuing play Amos Roberts scored and shortly after a similar occurrence took place as Roosters forward Anthony Tupou raced a fair distance to setup a terrific try for Iosia Soliola. The conversion brought the scores back to 12-10 but that was as close as the Roosters got for the rest of the game.

Tries to Patrick Ah Van in the 29th minute and Ropati?s second in the 38th took the halftime lead to 20-10 and the writing was on the wall. Several missed opportunities in between, including another to Webb which looked legitimate, cruelled the Warriors chances of racking up a bigger lead but to their credit they continued to pummel the Roosters defence whereas they may have lost their way in season?s gone by.

Epalahame Luauki brushed aside several defenders in the 44th minute to maintain the rage before Ropati completed his hat-trick ten minutes later with some good lead-up work around the rucks from Nathan Fien and Lance Hohaia.

Playing in his 265th first grade game, breaking Stephen Kearney?s record for most in the NRL by a New Zealand born player, vice-captain Ruben Wiki found himself in the sin bin for the first time in his career after holding down Amos Roberts after the Roosters flyer made a break.

Minutes later the visitors took advantage of the overlap and put Sam Perrett over for their final score of the day.

The Warriors continued the carnage in the 71st minute as Ropati capped a memorable day when he sealed his fourth try and Ah Van gratefully accepted a pin-point cut-out pass by Webb in the 78th to cross for his second.

This was a dominant effort by the Warriors over a meek Roosters outfit who have failed to live up to even the most humble predictions for 2006. New Zealand travel to Brisbane next week for their final game of the year in what should be a cracking contest against the semi-finals bound Broncos. Meanwhile, it doesn?t get any easier for the Roosters, they face the Dragons at the SCG.

New Zealand Warriors: 42
Tries: Epalahame Luauki, Jerome Ropati(4), Ruben Wiki, Patrick Ah Van(2)
Goals: Lance Hohaia 5/8
Sydney Roosters: 16
Tries: Sam Perrett, Amos Roberts, Iosia Soliola
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 2/3

By the Clock:
Nice day over here in Auckland where the Roosters take on the Warriors. The game is a dead rubber but a good contest is expected nonetheless.

Changes: Lopini Paea out for the Roosters with Charlie Tonga coming onto the bench. For the Warriors, Cooper Vuna makes way for the early return of Nathan Fien.

1 min: NEWS The Roosters get us underway in the first half.

4 min: NEWS Video referee denies Brent Webb a try after the Warriors fullback committed a textbook double-movement. Silly play by Webb as the Warriors are dominating proceedings here.

8 min: NEWS Warriors go close again and they're looking good early but failing to convert. Roosters are very flat and without many options at this point.

9 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors are in courtesy of Ruben Wiki. He hit a gap off a pass by Rovelli and crashed over to score. Warriors are dominating. Hohaia converts and they take the early lead.
Warriors 6-0

14 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Warriors are in again. From broken play Guttenbeil puts Ropati into a gap and he motors 35m to score under the posts. Hohaia converts. Signs are ominous here for the Roosters.
Warriors 12-0

17 min: NEWS Another near miss by the Warriors and then Foley turns it around and runs 70m upfield. Very open affair here at Mt Smart.

19 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Roosters get on the board thanks to Foley's break. They spread it wide and Cross finds Roberts on the wing who scores. Fitzgibbon can't convert from out wide.
Warriors 12-4

24 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Anthony Tupou makes a break out of nowhere and finds Soliola who scores next to the posts. Fitzgibbon converts.
Warriors 12-10

29 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Ah Van picks up a loose ball and races 60m to score. This game is turning into a try-fest. Hohaia can't convert and the lead remains 6 points.
Warriors 16-10

32 min: NEWS Webb denied another try after an obstruction is ruled. Looked ok to me.

36 min: NEWS Another missed opportunity from the Warriors as Ropati grasses a Webb grubber in the in-goal area.

38 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Ropati scores his second as he forces his way over close to the line. A bit soft really. Hohaia misses and the margin is now 10 points to the Warriors.
Warriors 20-10

40 min: NEWS A scorching first 40 minutes of action as the scoreline probably flatters the Roosters a little. New Zealand has missed several opportunites and they should be leading by more than they are. Roosters are looking disjointed and unenthusiastic. The game is still wide open though, but I fancy the Warriors to keep it going.

41 min: NEWS The Warriors restart proceedings here at Mt Smart.

44 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors push further ahead this time through Epalahame Luauki. He makes a mockery of the Roosters defence close to the line and steams across the stripe to score. Hohaia converts and the lead is out to 16.
Warriors 26-10

52 min: NEWS The Warriors have repelled a few attacking raids by the Roosters and are looking to go back on the attack themselves.

54 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors are in again. Fien gets out of dummy half and dishes to Hohaia who grubbers ahead. Ah Van scopps it to Ropati and the lively no.6 claims his third for the day. Hohaia converts and the Warriors are running away with it here.
Warriors 32-10

55 min: NEWS Crowd: 12,711. Not a bad effort.

64 min: NEWS Warriors setting up for another raid here. The last few minutes have been littered with errors from both sides.

65 min: NEWS Wiki finds himself in the sin bin after he held down Roberts following an intercept.

67 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
The Roosters claw one back with a try to Sam Perrett on the flank. Fitzy converts and they've got a bit more credibility.
Warriors 32-16

71 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
An amazed Roptai crosses for his fourth of the day with after regathering a kick ahead. Hohaia adds the extras and the Warriors want more.
Warriors 38-16

78 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Ah Van gets a double as Webb throws a pass with pin-point accuracy from first receiver to his wing-man. Hohaia hits the post with the conversion.
Warriors 42-16

80 min: NEWS Game over - Warriors destroy Roosters.
----------------------------------------- players of the match:
3 - Jerome Ropati
2 - Brent Webb
1 - Lance Hohaia