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Match summary: A blitz of 26 unanswered second half points has thrust two competition points the way of the New Zealand Warriors in their 46-14 defeat of the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Ericsson Stadium today.
Following a very competitive first half the Warriors exploded into action after the break, piling on tries from the 50th minute and scoring their first victory at home after five previous defeats. Stacey Jones was the catalyst for the win, scoring a great try and kicking seven goals from nine attempts and looks to have well and truly recaptured his true form which is a great sign for the Warriors.
The Bunnies were very strong in the first half, opening the scoring and being very competitive. Both teams were trading punches like heavyweights early on with some big hits, great breaks and skilful ball handling.
Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs winger Luke MacDougall, who scored a great try in the 33rd minute, was unable to continue in the second half and the Rabbitohs couldn?t keep pace with the bustling Warriors.
New Zealand tested the visitors for the first ten minutes of the second stanza before opening their artillery case and firing away. Tries to eight individuals summed up a great team effort and managed to bring a smile to the faces of CEO Mick Watson and coach Tony Kemp.
But the heart shown by the Bunnies should not be underscored. They tried to the last, and only that the Warriors displayed extreme pride in defending their turf, did they not get over the line.
Scorers: WARRIORS 46 Tries: Fien, Betham, Koopu, Jones, Vatuvei, Guttenbeil, Byrne, Toopi Goals: Jones con 6/8 pen 1/1 RABBITOHS 14 Tries: Watts, Harrison, MacDougall Goals: Williams 1/3 Halftime: Warriors 20-14.
Ericsson Stadium Referee: Russell Smith
By the clock:
Beautiful sunny day in Auckland today. Trent Young to start in the halves for Souths, Clinton Toopi comes back into the starting line-up for the Warriors.
1 min: And we're underway in the first half! Souths' Joe Williams kicks-off.
7 min: No score as yet, but some stiff defence and great ball movement shown by the Warriors. Bunnies haven't been granted many opportunities yet.
8 min: TRY - Souths. Brad Watts scores off a cross-filed kick by the Rabbitohs. Williams finds the mark from out wide, and the Rabbitohs lead 6-0.
13 min: TRY - Warriors. Nathan Fien has scurried under some defence from dummy half to post the first try for the home team. Referee Russell Smith goes upstairs to request the video, which is duly acknowledged after a few looks. Halfback Stacey Jones adds the extras and the scores are locked at 6-all.
15 min: TRY - Souths. Justing Harrison hits a gap close to the line following a mistake from the Warriors and the Bunnies hit straight back. Williams skews this attempt and the score is 10-6 in favour of the Bunnies.
20 min: Boy there some stiff defence from the Warriors, they sure can hit hard.
23 min: TRY - Warriors. Short ball from Price to Betham and they score under the posts. All this came from a huge mid-field break by Stacey Jones and some deft passing from others took them the length of the field. Jones converts and the scor is 12-10 in favour of the home side.
26 min: TRY - Warriors. Koopu gets on the end of a small break down the right hand side by Hohia and dashes 40m to score. The Warriors look like they're going to turn it on here. Jones converts and the scores are 18-10 in favour of the home side.
30 min: Todd Byrne just exorcised some demons by running down Todd Polglase in a "Scott Sattler" type ball-in-all tackle.
33 min: TRY - Souths. Luke MacDougall scores a determined effort in the corner for the Bunnies. Some bizarre play ensued, with Ropati running the ball up the other end and trying to score, but sanity prevailed. Williams fails to convert, Warriors lead 18-14
39 min: Penalty to the Warriors just before halftime. Jones takes the kick from right infront and extends the lead to 6 points. Warriors 20 Rabbitohs 14
Halftime: A great contest here at Ericsson Stadium with both teams putting in. The Warriors have a 6 point lead at the break but the Rabbioths do look very composed. This game could go either way and doesn't look like disappointing.
41 min: Second half underway through the boot of Ropati.
50 min: TRY - Warriors. Jones slices through the defence and cruises over the line. He converts his own try easily and the home team lead 26-14.
54 min: TRY - Warriors. Rookie winger Vatuvei plucks his first try from a Stacey Jones crossfield kick. Jones hits the post with the conversion and misses his first for the day. Warriors 30 Rabbitohs 14.
56 min: TRY - Warriors. The floodgates have opened up and Guttenbeil barges through close to the posts to score for the home side. Jones converts and the lead is 36-14 in favour of NZ.
65 min: TRY - Warriors. Byrne screams down the eastern side of the ground and scores in the corner. He looks to have added a yard of pace to his game. Jones misses and the score is 40-14 in favour of the Warriors.
68 min: TRY - Warriors. The Warriors are on song and carving up the Bunnies with Toopi scoring a signature try down the left flank and bringing it around under the posts. Jones converts, scores re 46-14 to the home side.
78 min: Polglase hel-up over the line as the Bunnies search for a consolation try.
Fulltime: The Warriors have steamrolled them here in the second half to take the points. The Rabbitohs did play hard and with heart though.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Jones (Warriors) 2 - T Byrne (Warriors) 1 - A Guttenbeil (Warriors) -----------------------------------------