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A tough bruising encounter at Ericsson today with the Warriors winning at home by 22-14 over the Broncos.
With the Warriors losing key play maker, Lance Hohaia, in the 3rd minute of the game, young Thomas Leulaui was asked to step up into the major role. He performed well throughout the match with Brent Webb in support.
Tough play throughout the first half saw neither team gather any advantage. A brawl just before halftime saw 2 players from each team sin binned. The referee was quick to dispel any more nastiness and the both teams went into the break tied up at 4 a piece.
The Broncos hit the lead early in the second half when De Vere crossed over for his second try and it looked like the Broncos may pull away.
To their credit the Warriors didn't panic and settled down to play sensible football. Some excellent breaks by Webb and Latu helped set up the Warriors 3 tries in the second half to secure the win and secure a spot in the top 8.
The Broncos now have a tougher battle ahead of them in the last two rounds. Lockyer was noticeably not 100% today and will only improve. De Vere performed well to score all of the Broncos points today.
Scorers: WARRIORS 22 Tries: Meli, Anderson, Latu, Faumuina Goals: Meli (0/1), Webb (3/4) defeated BRONCOS 14 Tries: De Vere 2 Goals: De Vere (2/3)
Sunday 24 August 2003 4:00PM Local; 2:00PM AEST Ericsson Stadium Crowd - 19,439 Referee: Bill Harrigan Video Referee: Graeme West
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - B Webb (Warriors) 2 - A Guttenbeil (Warriors) 1 - P Civoniceva (Broncos)
By the clock: A big crowd today in Auckland for this vital clash between the Warriors and the visiting Broncos
0 min: KICK OFF!
3rd min: NEWS - Hohaia (Warriors) stretchered off with a knee injury suffered before he fell in a tackle
7th min: NEWS - Young Warrior Leuluai now has to step up with Hohaia off the field. A big hit by Villasanti on Webcke has lifted both the crowd and the players
12th min: NEWS - Broncos with the majority of possession held back from scoring by some hard hitting Warriors defence, led by Villasanti
18th min: PENALTY GOAL - De Vere for Broncos. Lauiti'iti penalised for holding down in the tackle. De Vere kicks it from 35 metres out and 20 in from touch. The deadlock in the game is finally broken. Broncos 2-0
22nd min: TRY - Meli for Warriors. Great passage of play for the Warriors. Young Leuluai with some great plays helped with the go forward. A hint of a forward pass on the last flick through by Faumuina to Meli who was clipped around the neck on his way to the tryline. Neither action picked up by the ref. Meli from 5 metres in from touch, just shaves the post with his attempt at the conversion. Warriors 4-2
28th min: NEWS - Warriors hot on attack. A certain try for them bombed by Meli who just couldn't hold onto the ball close to the line. Warriors holds onto their slender lead, 4-2. News in Hohaia has a badly torn knee ligament which could see him out for the rest of the season
34th min: NEWS - The game has turned into a bit of a brawl after Betham took exception to a tough tackle. 4 in the sin bin. McGuire and Webb for the Broncos. Betham and Koopu for the Warriors. Broncos get the penalty, Warriors get the TKO points.
36th min: NEWS - A tackle by Guttenbeil, Swann and Latu for the Warriors placed on report for a hint above the horizontal. 36th min: NEWS - Tate (Broncos) slipping in the tackle sees stars as Meli comes in. He looks to be in a bit of trouble and leaves the field. Not nice with the way things have been in the last five minutes, but not through anything illegal this time. Warriors still lead 4-2
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - De Vere for Broncos. Webb pulled up for a high shot close to the Broncos line. De Vere has no trouble adding the 2 points to lock the score up, 4-4
HALFTIME: A breather for both sides to cool down
42nd min: TRY - De Vere for Broncos. A mistake by Lauiti'iti close to the Broncos line proves costly. The Broncos have no trouble spreading the ball wide and De Vere is over. De Vere from the sideline, converts his own try. The players sin binned return to the match. Broncos 10-4
46th min: NEWS - The Warriors start their flamboyant play with Anderson making a good break. The play broke down with great anticipation by Lockyer to intercept a pass by Meli
49th min: TRY - Anderson for Warriors. The scrambling defence by the Broncos held until Webb holds up a pass fractionally for a flying Andeson to nab and score. Webb from nearly in front, gets the conversion. The game is locked up again at 10 all
51st min: TRY - Latu for Warriors. Webb breaking through the tackle takes off with little Latu in hot pursuit. Latu brings the ball around behind the posts. Webb from near in front, gets another. Warriors 16-10
61st min: TRY - Faumuina for Warriors. A mistake by the Broncos 20 metres out from the Warriors line and the Warriors spread the ball. A cross field kick by Leuluai has 3 Warriors attackers vying for the points. Faumuina wins the lottery. Webb taking an age to kick a relatively easy conversion, finally adds the extra 2 points. Warriors 22-10
63rd min: NEWS - Tate (Broncos) injured earlier in the match is seen stretchered out of the Ericsson ground presumably off to hospital for tests
66th min: TRY - De Vere for Broncos. A forward pass by the Warriors gives the Broncos excellent field position. A speculator pass by Berrigan out to the touch line finds its mark and De Vere is over in the corner. A difficult conversion, and De Vere misses. Warriors 22-14
77th min: NEWS - The Broncos trying to get up for some points can't seem to get through the Warriors defence and start to make errors. Warriors lead 22-14
FULL TIME: A tough battle at Ericsson this afternoon for both sides