Warriors crowned Toyota Cup premiers

The New Zealand Warriors have claimed an inaugural premiership trophy with a comprehensive 42-28 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Under 20s Grand Final at ANZ Stadium.

The match was in the balance at 12-10 to New Zealand at the break but a stunning flurry of four-straight tries in the second blew the scoreline out to 36-10.

Some late Souths determination translated into four-pointers but it proved to be in vain against a New Zealand team the was simply too big and too strong.

Warriors five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave was awarded the Jack Gibson Medal for best player on ground. The eighteen year old thanked his team mates and the many families and friends who made the trek across the Tasman for the final.

New Zealand resisted early pressure to explode out of the blocks with successive tries to stand-in captain Elijah Taylor and centre Siuatonga Likiliki.

But Souths steadied and posted two hit back four-pointers of their own - the first off a scrum set piece involving a long kick for a flying James Roberts, while the second came when centre Junior Vai Vai crashed over off a nice short ball from Matt Mundine.

With the scoreboard reading 12-10 to the Kiwis at the break, the game was up for grabs and it was the Warriors who put the pedal to the metal when it was on the line.

First Taylor crossed from a Tuimavave grubber, before a flying Glen Fisiiahi capitalised on a offload from Likiliki in the 53rd minute. The New Zealanders then went into party mode when Shaun Johnson regathered his fifth tackle chip - he then flicked it out wide to Sam Lousi, who crossed for the first try of his career - and winger Elijah Niko scored.

Three late tries to the Bunnies reduced the deficit but the final result was never in doubt, with the Warriors winning their first premiership title.

Match Details
New Zealand Warriors 42 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 28
Toyota Cup Under 20s - Toyota Cup Grand Final - Sunday October 3, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Gavin Reynolds
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Jason Walsh and Richard Daizli
Crowd: 0
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 12 South Sydney Rabbitohs 10

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Sebastine Ikahihifo
2 Points - Shaun Johnson (7 Conversions)
1 Point - Glen Fisiiahi (1 Try)

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (42)
Tries: Glen Fisiiahi, Siuatonga Likiliki, Elijah Niko, Elijah Taylor (2), Nafe Seluini, Sam Lousi
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (7/7)

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (28)
Tries: Nathan Peats, Blake Judd, Jack Tulemau, James Roberts, Junior Vaivai
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/5)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to ANZ Stadium for today's Toyota Cup Grand Final between minor premiers South Sydney and the New Zealand Warriors.

Two great attacking sides on show this afternoon but it may be a low scorer - it's a heavy wet track at ANZ which is already looking muddy in parts thanks to the previous NSW Cup final. In that game, the Bulldogs triumphed over Windsor Wolves 24-12.

Don't forget to check out Tim Costello's preview by clicking on the 'Preview' tab.
1 min: Kick off! South Sydney with first use of the ball and they've kicked a 40/20 in the first minute!
2 min: In team changes, Henry Chang Ting is the new man in jersey 18 for the Warriors in the hooking position.
3 min: Souths trap Sebastine Ikahihifo in the ingoal and they'll get a goal line dropout. It's all Bunnies early.
5 min: Warriors hold the Rabbitohs out with some desperate defence, positive signs there for the Kiwis.
6 min: Warriors winger Elijah Niko intercepts a pass on his own line but only travels about five metres before the defence catches up - not the fastest winger going around..
9 min: Video referee - possible Warriors try..
9 min: TRY
Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson grubbers ahead on the last tackle and Souths fullback Malcolm Webster looks to have it covered but fumbles - captain Elijah Taylor is Johnny on the spot and claims the try. Johnson converts.
New Zealand Warriors 6-0
11 min: TRY
Warriors go back-to-back!! After travelling the length of the field in one set, centre Siuatonga Likiliki dives through some poor defence out wide for his 19th try of 2010. It came off some scheming play from Shaun Johnson, who converts from the sideline!
New Zealand Warriors 12-0
14 min: Crazy stuff here at ANZ, the Rabbitohs had all the field position early but the Warriors have just blown them out of the water - they're too big and too strong at the moment.
17 min: Souths winger Josh Mansour does well to field a Johnson grubber and work it off his own line. Johnson's definitely favouring the low kick today, which is probably a good tactic considering the weather.
21 min: The Rabbitohs keep the ball alive on the last, Mundine kicks it high and wide but Kane Morgan can't keep the ball in the field of play and knocks it forward.
23 min: The Warriors trap James Roberts in the ingoal from another low skidding kick.
25 min: Elijah Taylor makes a surge at the line but lets go of the ball into the arms of opponent Josh Mansour.
27 min: Video referee - possible Souths try..
27 min: TRY
Stunning try from a set play from Souths! Webster kicks from the scrum win on about the 40 metre line, winger James Webster wins the race outpacing opposite winger Elijah Niko to the ball (confirming in my mind Niko is indeed the Luke Covell of Toyota Cup wingers). Reynolds converts and Souths are back in it.
New Zealand Warriors 12-6
31 min: Warriors' Shaun Johnson now kicks out on the full, without stating the obvious, the momentum has shifted.
32 min: TRY
Some straight running on the fringes sees centre Junior Vai Vai crash through off a nice short ball from Matt Mundine - the Warriors were very flat footed on their own line. Adam Reynolds fails to convert.
New Zealand Warriors 12-10
36 min: New Zealand keep it alive on the fifth but Omar Slaimankhel runs out of space and hoists a kick across field.
HALFTIME: Intriguing first half here, the Warriors exploded with two tries in quick time but Souths have clawed their way back thanks to two of their own. The Rabbitohs look a little more patient with the ball in hand, while New Zealand have at times pushed the offload to the point of making an error. Who knows what might happen in the second forty though, not even Nostradamus could predict an U20s result..
41 min: Both sides back out on the field now and so is the sun, should be nice, humid conditions.
41 min: Souths steal possession one-on-one in the first set and now get the chance to attack.
43 min: Apparently both sides have tremendous second half recrods over the course of the finals, only one winner today though..
44 min: Josh Reynolds goes for another 40/20 but doesn't quite find touch.
45 min: Excitement plus all of a sudden! Webster makes a break before chipping over the top of the fullback's head but he interferes with Fisiiahi and concedes a penalty. Plus some pushes and shoves for good measure.
45 min: Souths' Jacob Nansen drops it cold on the first tackle.
49 min: The Rabbitohs penalised for a strip and the Warriors get a set 20 metres out from the Bunnies' line.
51 min: TRY
Elijah Taylor shows great tenacity to ground a well weighted grubber from Carlos Tuimavave - that's the captain's second for the day. Shuan Johnson converts to take the lead out to eight.
New Zealand Warriors 18-10
53 min: TRY
Back-to-back tries for New Zealand again! Centre Siuatonga Likiliki stands like a man mountain before offloading to a flying Glen Fisiiahi, who steps and accelerates to make it to the line. Shaun Johnson converts.
New Zealand Warriors 24-10
56 min: Warriors with all the running now, another try could be curtains for Souths.
57 min: TRY
The Warriors are in party mode now! A fifth tackle chip from Shaun Johnson is regathered before he then flicks it out wide to Sam Lousi - the big man scores his first try of his career and he may have just wrapped up the premiership for his side. Shaun Johnson converts.
New Zealand Warriors 30-10
60 min: Rabbitohs half Adam Reynolds tries two chips (might need to grab some dip for them..) of his own but the Warriors field it comfortably.
63 min: Warriors get a penalty for a Souths strip, nothing going right for the Redfern boys at the moment.
64 min: TRY
Warriors winger Elijah Niko uses his strength and size to crash over following a nice inside pass from centre partner Sosaia Feki. Shaun Johnson converts and continues his perfect day.
New Zealand Warriors 36-10
66 min: Souths regather a short kick off - they won that battle for the ball but they haven't won the war.
67 min: TRY
Souths lock Blake Judd dives through some very sloppy defence to score. Adam Reynolds converts.
New Zealand Warriors 36-16
69 min: The Rabbitohs have finally awoken and they may have another try..
69 min: TRY
Hooker Nathan Peats burrows over from dummy half - the Warriors have clocked off completely. Reynolds converts. Can Souths score 3 tries in ten minutes?
New Zealand Warriors 36-22
71 min: The Bunnies make another break through Roberts on the right flank but his attempted kick back infield dribbles over the sideline.
73 min: TRY
Warriors interchange forward Nafetalai Seluini spies half a gap and turns it into a four-pointer thanks to some blinding acceleration - some very tired defensive efforts at this stage of the game. Shaun Johnson converts.
New Zealand Warriors 42-22
76 min: Souths streak away down the left side but a Matt Mundine pass is ruled forward.
77 min: Errors galore now from both teams as the clock winds down.
79 min: TRY
Souths score in the dying minutes through prop Jack Tulemau, who just barges past the marker defence to set up a typical Toyota Cup scoreline. Adam Reynolds converts.
New Zealand Warriors 42-28
FULLTIME: The Warriors have claimed their first ever premiership with a fairly comprehensive 42-28 victory over Souths. Too big, too strong and too skillful was the mantra of the day, with an early second half burst of New Zealand tries the difference between the two sides. That's it from the Toyota Cup the season on League Unlimited.

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