Are the St George-Illawarra Dragons headed for a similar fate to 2015?
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The New Zealand Warriors were sentenced to an early grave from the Cougar World Sevens rugby league tournament in Sydney today when they were beaten 19-10 by Manly at Aussie Stadium.
Joint favourites with Parramatta at the start of the tournament, the Warriors needed to beat the Sea Eagles to top their pool or qualify on points differential for the "lucky loser" repechage.
Instead they were convincingly beaten four tries to one as Manly stormed into the quarterfinals with a perfect three-from-three record.
Wairangi Koopu and Epalahame Lauaki scored for the Warriors, Lauaki's narrowing the gap to 10-15 before Scott Donald sealed the victory when he brilliantly caught a cross field bomb to score in the tackle of Brent Webb.
The Warriors camp was far from downhearted despite missing out on a tilt at the $A100,000 ($NZ116,157) winner's cheque.
"We're a bit disappointed with our results but it (sevens) is always a bit of a lottery," coach Daniel Anderson said.
"We turned over possession and you can't turn the ball over too much in sevens."
On attack, Anderson felt he missed the express speed of injured wing Justin Murphy or PJ Marsh.
"We made a lot of half breaks but our big blokes were sat on their heels a little bit. We just missed the last pass today.
"We were a bit light on attack, that's surprising because most people would have thought we were pretty potent there."
The Warriors kicked off yesterday with an 8-15 loss to Newcastle before staying alive with a 32-16 defeat of the NASCA Aboriginals.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Residents team finished their campaign with a flourish, eliminating the Roosters with a deserved 15-10 in their final pool match.
Out of contention after losses to North Queensland (12-18) and the Brisbane Broncos (8-40) yesterday, the Bartercard Cup representatives broke their duck with a three tries to two victory sealed on the bell when Regan Wigg broke 40 metres to score.
The Residents had been trailing 4-10 with three minutes to run when Misili Manu charged down the left flank to score a five-point bonus point try by dotting down behind the posts.
Stephen Matai potted the easy conversion to give the Residents the lead for the first time before Daniel Floyd made a match-saving tackle when he forced opposite Tyrone Smith out in the corner.
From the restart the Residents surged downfield until Wigg broke the line for the winning score.
The Roosters lax approach to conversions proved costly with neither of Grant Rovelli's five-pointers rewarded with the easy conversions from in front.
Cronulla, Wests Tigers, St George-Illawarra, North Queensland, Papua New Guinea and Tonga join Manly in the quarterfinals along with the winner of the repechage match between defending champions Parramatta and Penrith.
The final is scheduled for 8.55pm (NZT).
Full scoring coverage is available here at Leagueunlimited.
Manly Sea Eagles 19 (Solomon Haumono, Luke Williamson, Jeff Robson, Scott Donald tries; Williamson goal) New Zealand Warriors 10 (Wairangi Koopu, Epalahame Lauaki tries; Brent Webb goal). Halftime: 9-6.
New Zealand Residents 15 (Robinson Godfrey, Misili Manu, Regan Wigg tries; Stephen Matai goal) Sydney Roosters 10 (Grant Rovelli 2 tries). Halftime: 5-4.