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NYC Rd 24 Warriors 18 Penrith 16

The Vodafone Junior Warriors recovered from consecutive losses to register a hard-fought 18-16 victory over Penrith in the 24th-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
NYC Rd 24 Warriors 18 Penrith 16
by NRL

The Vodafone Junior Warriors recovered from consecutive losses to register a hard-fought 18-16 victory over Penrith in the 24th-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.

In their last outing at home the 2010-2011 NYC premiers crashed to a 10-40 loss to Cronulla, their biggest defeat at Mount Smart Stadium in the competition's five-year history.

They followed it up with a desperately unlucky 28-32 loss to North Queensland last Saturday, a result which cost them top spot on the ladder.

Today's victory keeps the John Ackland- coached side in the mix for the minor premiership. They stay third on 35 points, one behind Canberra and level with Canterbury-Bankstown which holds second place on points for and against. Those two sides meet in Canberra next weekend while the Vodafone Junior Warriors are away to St George Illawarra; if Canberra and the Vodafone Junior Warriors both win, their clash at Mount Smart Stadium on September 2 will determine the NYC minor premiership.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors appeared to have victory sewn up leading 18-10 with about three minutes left but fears of another defeat at the death came into focus when Penrith scored in the 78th minute to cut the lead to just two points. Fortunately there was no heartbreak this time, the Vodafone Junior Warriors holding out their rivals for a much-needed victory.

The Panthers ensured this was never a victory which would come easily.

They scored first before the Vodafone Junior Warriors struck back with two tries, the first a quality effort as captain John Palavi used clever footwork and pace to carve through the Penrith line while the next was all done to power, interchange prop Toka Likiliki an irresistible force as he drove over.

A 10-4 halftime lead was eroded early in the second half as Penrith levelled up before the home side stitched together two nicely-worked tries in a matter of minutes.

The first in the 61st minute was finished off nicely by 17-year-old winger David Fusitua when the Vodafone Junior Warriors shifted the ball sweetly to the left edge. Then four minutes later good hands to the right handed Viliami Lolohea his 12th try in 12 matches this season to stretch his side out to an 18-10 advantage with 15 minutes to play.

Match details:

At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 18 (John Palavi, Toka Likiliki, David Fusitua, Viliami Lolohea tries; Mason Lino conversion).
Penrith Panthers 16 (Kieran Moss 2, Corey Carl tries; Toby Evans 2 conversions).
Halftime: 10-6 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Referee: Shane Rehm.

Vodafone Junior Warriors: Omar Slaimankhel; Viliami Lolohea, Ngataua Hukatai, Ngani Laumape, David Fusitua; Peta Hiku, Mason Lino; Ligi Sao, Siliva Havili, Nathaniel Peteru; Sio Siua Taukeiaho, John Palavi (c); David Bhana: Interchange: Trent Bishop, Siulongoua Fotofili, Toka Likiliki, Atu Tupou.


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