The Warriors snapped their six-game losing streak at home with a 24-16 success tonight against Manly Sea Eagles at a soggy Mt Smart Stadium.
Rugby League's greatest enigma the New Zealand Warriors kept their season alive tonight. A blistering start which had them leading 18-nil at half-time due to a Ken Maumalo double and a Ligi Sao four-pointer. A late score from Jazz Tevaga quelled a late Sea Eagles resistance and send the fans home happy on a wet evening in Auckland.
It all came from the defense. There was an intent from the Warriors tonight, they laid some big hits and held out the Sea Eagles for 65 minutes. Underlining that is the fact that the Sea Eagles had 57 tackles in the opposition 20 to the Warriors 17 and the first score against came in the 68th minute.
Chanel Harris-Tavita has been an unsung hero for the Warriors this season. The young halfback playing out of necessity tonight, directed play well above his age with his kicking game and was game in defense, putting on some shots against larger opponents.
His fearlessness amplified across the side. They trusted their defense and when in attack, used the ball wisely which opened up space for Maumalo. His double has rocketed the winger to the top of the try-scoring charts and snapped a six-game losing streak at Mt Smart.
For the Sea Eagles, the late comeback might paper over the first half effort. The visitors were playing dry-weather football in slippy conditions and were getting frustrated with not turning their dominance into points. The usual fluid combination between Daly Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers wasn't clicking and wasn't helped by the Warriors slowing their ruck speed.
The belief that Des Hasler has instilled in this side showed late in the piece though. After Adam Blair's sin-bin, Joel Thompson crashed over, followed by Reuben Garrick's quickfire double that made it 18-16. A forward pass from Manese Fainu stopped their comeback and their quest to break into the top four.