After a tough yet mistake-ridden first half resulting in a 0-all halftime score-line, the New Zealand Warriors have overcome the Manly Sea Eagles by 20-12 at Ericsson Stadium in Auckland.
A second half surge by last year?s grand finalists killed off any hope the Sea Eagles had of staging an upset. Driven by the resignation of coach Peter Sharp, Manly just weren?t up to the task tonight, as the Warriors showed their class in the second half. Ali Laui?titi made an impressive impact, laying on the first try for Webb after a damaging run down the left hand side.
Latu scored a determined try from dummy half shortly after, extending the lead and giving the home team the ascendancy. After a few unusual refereeing decisions, the Warriors took a 14-point lead through a penalty goal to mercurial halfback Stacey Jones, before rising star Vinnie Anderson put the result beyond doubt with a try after a one-on-one strip of Solomon Haumono.
Shortly after Manly staged a mini-fight-back, putting on 12 points to make the score look a little respectable to those people who wake up tomorrow morning looking for the score in the Sun Herald.
Overall, a game the Warriors were expected to win and needed to win after some indifferent form recently.
Saturday 12 July 2003 7:30PM Local 5:30PM AEST Ericsson Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins. Scorers: WARRIORS Tries: Webb, Latu, Anderson Goals: Jones 4/4 SEA EAGLES Tries: Lima, Creary Goals: Williamson 2/2
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards.
3 ? F. Meli (Warriors) 2 ? S. Jones (Warriors) 1 ? M. Creary (Sea Eagles)
By the clock 12th min: Still no score but Francis Meli from the Warriors has made some rampaging runs. Manly are enthusiastic in defence and this looks to be a tight game.
24th min: Still no score but Manly are slowly warming to the contest and have forced a repeat set of six. Big Ali has been injected into the game to give the Warriors some extra spark.
36th min: The Warriors go close but are held up just metres from the tryline. Nil all with four minutes to half time.
HALF TIME: Scoreless first half with neither side looking overly impressive with a lot of dropped ball in greasy conditions. The Warriors opted not to take a shot at goal two minutes out from half time. It remains to be seen if the decision will cost them dearly.
42nd min: TRY - Warriors. Brent Webb scores the first points of the match after Ali Laui'titi made a bruising run. Conversion successful. Warriors 6-0.
52nd min: TRY - Warriors. Latu scoots out of dummy half and crashes over after some sustained Warriors pressure. Manly have it all to do if they are to get out of this one. Conversion successful. Warriors 12-0.
63rd min: PENALTY GOAL - Warriors. Stacey Jones was taken out late by Danny Lima and subsequently converts the penalty to extend the Warriors lead. Warriors 14-0.
66th min: TRY - Warriors. Vinnie Anderson seals the Warriors win with a one on one strip on Solomon Haumono. Conversion successful. Warriors 20-0.
68th min: TRY - Manly. Lima barges over for Manly's first try of the evening. Conversion successful. Warriors 20-6.
76th min: TRY - Manly. Mitch Creary crosses out wide after some good ball movement and passing by Williamson and Menzies. Conversion successful. Warriors 20-12.
FULL TIME: The Warriors are back in the winners circle with a scrappy 20-12 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles who now find themselves pretty much out of contention with eight rounds to play. Best for the Warriors were Meli, Latu and Jones while for Manly Creary had a strong game.