A physical New Zealand Warriors have beaten a very error-prone Sydney Roosters 24-12 at Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland.
In front of a vocal home crowd, the Warriors used their size and strength to great effect against a Sydney side that dropped the ball seemingly at every opportunity. Winger BJ Leilua was the worst offender, with a number of mistake and mistimed passes.
The Warriors also played the majority of the game without gun fullback Glen Fisiiahi, who left the field early in the first half with an ankle sprain after being bent back in an awkward tackle.
Sydney opened the scoring with a stunning 90 metre effort, started by a free running Leilua and finished by centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall under the posts.
However, New Zealand hit back in quick fashion when Feleti Mateo showed playmaking guise when he sucked in the defence and grubbered for an unmarked Krisnan Inu in the 18th minute.
The remainder of the half was a bruising affair with neither side taking a backward step until the Roosters found themselves behind 10-6 after a Lewis Brown try on the stroke of halftime.
Deputising for the injured Fisiiahi, veteran Lance Hohaia stretched the lead to ten points thanks to a swerving run to the line.
Fellow Warrior Simon Mannering butchered what should have been a certain four points when he broke the defence but failed to notice Shaun Berrigan in support. That error in judgement proved costly - the Roosters turned the tables and some soft defence saw Mitchell Pearce slice through the line untouched in the 54th minute.
Despite the close scoreline, the momentum favoured the home team and a tiring and increasingly ill disciplined Roosters served Berrigan a try on a platter following a loose pass, pushing the margin out to 22-12.
Sydney continued to be their own worst enemy with a raft of mistakes before a 77th-minute penalty goal to James Maloney put the icing on the cake for New Zealand.
The Roosters must now regroup and, to quote a cliche, return to basics before their clash with Brisbane at BlueTongue Stadium next Saturday. Meanwhile, the Warriors will be searching for a hat-trick of wins on Manly Warringah's home turf.
New Zealand Warriors 24 defeated Sydney Roosters 12
National Rugby League - Round 5 (Heritage Round) - Saturday April 9, 2011 5:30pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Chris James
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Clayton Sharpe
Crowd: To be confirmed
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 10 Sydney Roosters 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Lance Hohaia (1 Try)
2 Points - Michael Luck
1 Point - Nate Myles
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (24)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Lance Hohaia, Krisnan Inu, Lewis Brown
Conversions: James Maloney (3/4)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (1/1)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (12)
Tries: Mitchell Pearce, Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Conversions: Braith Anasta (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary A sensational Saturday kicks off with New Zealand taking on Sydney here at Mount Smart Stadium. The Warriors finally got on the board last weekend after Ivan Cleary swung the selection axe, while the Roosters triumphed against Wests. The visitors should relish the physical contact this evening and I'm expecting it to be quite willing.
It's HERITAGE ROUND - both teams will be wearing retro strips from years gone by:
Warriors: Elijah Taylor starts at the expense of Ukuma Ta'ai, while Kevin Locke has been replaced on the interchange by Lance Hohaia.
Roosters: Phil Graham starts in the centres for Mitch Aubusson, who pushes to the bench. FrankPaul Nuuausala starts, Tom Symonds has been left out. And Daniel Conn in jersey 18 takes Mark Riddell's spot on the interchange. For those of you who have Twitter, join the conversation at twitter.com/LeagueUnlimited
Roosters on the field now and Shaun Kenny-Dowall lets out a massive yawn, hopefully his teammates are more awake..
1 min: Kick off! Roosters run right to left and will defend first up.
1 min: Big collisions already, Nate Myles looking fairly wobbly after making a tackle.
4 min: Feleti Mateo nearly puts Glen Fisiiahi through a gap but he's dragged down, impressive start from New Zealand.
7 min: Todd Carney kicks wide for his namesake but Justin can't nab the ball - Warriors 20 metre tap.
8 min: On a side note, Jacob Lillyman has made a solid transformation from backrower to prop, he's had a few strong surges already.
11 min: Warriors seem to be targeting Justin Carney on the wing with a bomb or two, he's not the tallest winger going around.
12 min: Mitchell Pearce bombs on the last, Shaun Kenny-Dowall comes up with the ball but in his attempt to offload throws it forward.
14 min: TRY
Sydney break the shackles with a 90 metre beauty! BJ Leilua finds space down the flank and passes inside to Pearce who again finds Shaun Kenny-Dowall under the posts. Great support play. Braith Anasta converts.
Sydney Roosters 6-0
16 min: Myles is penalised for not playing it correctly - the earlier head-knock can be used as an excuse.
18 min: TRY
New Zealand hit back in quick fashion thanks to Feleti Mateo, who drifts across field before grubbering for Krisnan Inu. He caught the defence napping. James Maloney converts from the sideline.
20 min: Now New Zealand make an error off the kick off, how the pendulum swings..
21 min: Jacob Lillyman gets absolutely smashed by Nate Myles and drops the ball.
25 min: Nate Myles is in everything tonight, this time he's on the receiving end of an upending tackle from Micheal Luck.
26 min: Phil Graham goes within inches of scoring and New Zealand are penalised for a second effort. But Carney drops it on the next tackle and the crowd roars.
28 min: Bit of a brain fart there from Leilua, who gets too excited and throws it over the sideline on a kick return.
33 min: Again James Maloney goes for the cross field bomb on Justin Carney's side - Bill Tupou gets above the pack but bats it forward.
34 min: Glen Fisiiahi in some trouble for New Zealand, he made a great stepping run but was simply bent in half by two Roosters.
34 min: Fisiiahi is assisted from the field on one leg, it looks serious for the young guy.
37 min: Roosters get field position to post one attacking raid just before the break, it's been an exciting half but just the two tries to show.
38 min: The verdict on Glen Fisiiahi is a "high ankle strain".
39 min: TRY
New Zealand go down the short side, Lewis Brown finds too much space and dives over. Poor defence from Sydney, they had the numbers. James Maloney fails to convert.
New Zealand Warriors 10-6
41 min: Underway in the second half!
41 min: And we start from where we left off! A massive hit from Ukuma Ta'ai on Masoe and a penalty for a dubious strip.
43 min: Now Mose Masoe is in strife with what looks like a neck injury - he will play on though.
45 min: Krisnan Inu offloads but Berrigan is daydreaming and it rebounds off his head into the Roosters arms.
47 min: TRY
Lance Hohaia gets the ball on a second man play and ducks and weaves his way to the try line. He enjoyed that too, was a late inclusion but now finds himself at fullback with Fisiiahi off the field. James Maloney converts.
New Zealand Warriors 16-6
50 min: Simon Mannering streaks away, he had Berrigan on his inside unmarked but didn't see him! He eventually tries to pass but it goes forward.
54 min: TRY
Some soft goalline defences sees Mitchell Pearce slide through. They were probably hanging back waiting for the kick but Pearce hit a short ball from Friend and scored with ease. Anasta converts.
New Zealand Warriors 16-12
56 min: Another cheap turnover from Sydney with Justin Carney pushing the pass, plenty of errors from both sides.
59 min: Video referee - possible Warriors try..
59 min: NO TRY - Krisnan Inu catches a bomb at full stretch but BJ Leilua somehow gets himself between the ball and the turf to prevent Inu from grounding it.
60 min: Sydney nearly find some space out wide but the Warriors scramble well and shift Minichiello into touch.
62 min: BJ Leilua knocks on from a simply dummy half run, that's the Roosters 11th error.
64 min: Sydney look out on their feet at the moment.. they need a piece of magic from someone.
65 min: Lance Hohaia gets dragged over the sideline and objects to the treatment, few pushes and shoves with trainer Ruben Wiki right in the middle.
66 min: Leilua drops it again! Warriors right on the attack, a try here should kill off the opposition.
68 min: TRY
Shaun Berrigan gets a try handed to him on a platter. A wayward pass from Sydney is swooped on by Berrigan, who has a clear 30 metre passage to the line. James Maloney converts.
New Zealand Warriors 22-12
72 min: In desperation, Todd Carney tries a bomb but there's no chase whatsoever and Hohaia fields it in comfort.
75 min: I can just copy and paste this now.. BJ Leilua drops another ball in the tackle! Warriors on the offensive with one last chance to pu the icing on the cake.
77 min: PENALTY GOAL
Warriors PENALTY GOAL
Roosters concede a penalty on their line and James Maloney add two extra points to their For and Against.
New Zealand Warriors 24-12
79 min: BJ Leilua with ANOTHER error, not his fault this time though as the pass was way over his head.
Fulltime: A physical performance from New Zealand, they bashed the Roosters into submission. Sydney also made far too many errors, I don't like singling players out but BJ Leilua was the worst offender.