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A win finally to the NZ Warriors in their one off jersey strip, at a slippery home ground when they defeated the Sharks by 23-6 in front of a crowd of 16,172.
The game was riddled with errors after two days with showers in Auckland, and many scoring opportunities were bombed by both sides.
Sharks coach Chris Anderson had his son Jarrad in the run on team, and was rewarded when Jarrad scored a try on debut in the 10th minute, which was converted. Ominous signs for the Warriors very early in the match, but unfortunately for the Sharks, these were the last points to be scored in the match.
The Warriors started to show some of the flare they are reknown for, only to have unforced errors letting them down at crucial times.
Two players making their debuts for the Warriors, Tevita Latu and Vince Mellars played with a mountain of enthusiasm, with Mellars being rewarded with a try in his first NRL match.
Halftime and the Warriors were ahead by just 2 points, 8-6, with Webb sinbinned for a silly error 5 minutes before the break.
The second half and the NZ Warriors opened up, finishing off the half with two great tries. Mistakes a plenty did not help the Sharks although Kimmorley and Nutley were the stand out players for the Sharks and were trying very hard to get across the line.
Faumuina, Beetham and Motu Tony put on fine performances helping their side to put on 23 unanswered points and come out decisive winners in the end.
WARRIORS 23 Tries: Meli, Mellars, Faumuina, Jones Goals: Jones 3/5, Jones F/G
SHARKS 6 Tries: Anderson Goals: Kimmorley 1/2
Saturday 7 June 2003 7:30PM Local 5.30PM AEST Ericsson Stadium Crowd 16,172 Referee: Sean Hampstead
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 ? S Faumuina (Warriors) 2 ? D Nutley (Sharks) 1 ? S Jones (Warriors)
By the clock:
0 min: Kickoff! Nathan Vagg has been omitted from the Sharks bench. While with the Warriors, Latu will start at hooker, Betham will move to lock and Faumuina will go to the bench.
4th min: NEWS - The debutant Latu is playing well while the Warriors have had an enthusiastic start.
10th min: TRY - Sharks. After a few sets on the Warriors line points had to come. Brett Kimmorely put up a bomb and Meli and Milford knocked the ball back. Jarrad Anderson picked up and went across in the corner. The video referee was called upon and after several looks awarded a try. Kimmorley's conversion attempt is unsuccessful - Sharks 4-0.
13th min: NEWS - The crowd have been quiet tonight, you could've heard a pin drop when the Sharks scored.
16th min: NEWS - The Sharks have bombed a try with a forward pass. The Warriors are having to soak up alot of pressure with the Sharks having more sets on their line.
20th min: TRY - Warriors. A fantastic try, just what we've come to expect from the Warriors. Faumuina put Mellars through a gap. Mellars got the ball away to Jones who threw an over the top ball to Meli who finished off a great try. Jones is successful with the conversion - Warriors 6-4.
25th min: NEWS - Handling errors are really starting to hurt the Warriors. They're going to pay for giving up this much possession eventually.
29th min: NEWS - Milford should've been taken from the field after hurting his ankle. He is still on but is hobbling.
32nd min: PENALTY GOAL - Sharks. Logan Swann is penalised for being offside. Brett Kimmorley slots the two points - 6 all.
35th min: SIN BIN - Brent Webb. The Sharks made a huge break and Brent Webb pulled off a great tackle. He ruined it but stripping the ball in the play the ball. He has been sin binned as that's a professional foul. The Warriors will struggle with only 12 men on the park.
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - Warriors. The Sharks were pulled up for obstruction. Jones slots the two points - Warriors 8-6.
Halftime: The Warriors have absorbed alot of pressure and really don't deserve their lead at the break. The Sharks have had all the run of the play but nothing really to show for it. Halftime score - Warriors 8-6.
Halftime Statistics: The Warriors have completed 12 of 20 sets while the Sharks have completed 15 of 20. The Warriors have made 149 tackles, 68 hitups and 10 missed tackles. The Sharks have made 136 tackles, 94 hitups and 14 missed tackles. The Warriors have made 8 handling errors and the sharks have made 5. For the Warriors the top tackler has been Betham with 24 and Swann and Koopu have made the most hitups with 7 each. For the Sharks the top tackler has been Nutley with 25 and Nutley and Beattie have made the most hitups with 12 each.
41st min: The second half is under way!
45th min: TRY - Stacey Jones put up a bomb which Meli caught. Heading to the sideline he threw it back inside, Mellars caught it and scored. It went up to the video referee who awarded the try. Jones is unsuccessful with the conversion - Warriors 12-6.
46th min: NEWS - Brent Webb for the Warriors is back on the field after being sent to the sin bin late in the first half.
52nd min: NEWS - The mistakes have carried on into the half. The Warriors have come out fired up with an early try and some good field position. Monty Betham was held up in goal.
54th min: NEWS - Dean Bosnich has been taken from the field after being down in backplay for several minutes. The official crowd figure for the match is 16,172.
61st min: NEWS - The game is settling down now. The Warriors have had the better of the second half. Villasanti is warming up on the sideline for the Warriors. He hasn't played for the Warriors since last years Grand Final.
64th min: NEWS - For the second time tonight the Sharks have bombed a try with a forward pass. Richard Villasanti is on the field and already makes a big run.
70th min: NEWS - The Warriors are starting to hit hard and dig in for the final 10 minutes.
71st min: FIELD GOAL - Warriors. Stacey Jones puts the Warriors beyond the converted try mark with a field goal that just makes it over - Warriors 13-6.
76th min: TRY - Warriors. More amazing football from the Warriors. On the last tackle Meli received the ball out wide and kicked in-field straight into the hands of Faumuina who bet the fullback to score. Jones conversion attempt is successful - Warriors 19-6.
80th min: TRY - Warriors. On the last tackle Jones put in a chip kick, got a great bounce and ran 30 metres to score a try right on fulltime. Jones fails to convert his own try - Warriors 23-6.
Fulltime: The Warriors defence has been excellent in the second half. They lifted their game while the Sharks looked very poor. It was a hard fought win for the Warriors that will give them some much needed confidence. Final score - Warriors 23-6.
Fulltime Statistics: The Warriors completed 29 of 45 sets while the Sharks completed 26 of 41. The Warriors made 267 tackles, 154 hitups and 15 missed tackles. The Sharks made 274 tackles, 166 hitups and 25 missed tackles. The Warriors made 16 handling errors and the sharks made 16. For the Warriors the top tackler was Betham with 31 and Swann made the most hitups with 15. For the Sharks the top tackler was Nutley with 52 and Beattie made the most hitups with 22.