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Winger Atelea Nafetalai scored a double for the Vulcans in their New South Wales Cup match against North Sydney today. Photo: Photosport.

The highly-ranked North Sydney Bears finished with two late tries to win a tight contest 22-10 over the Auckland Vulcans in todays fifth-round New South Wales Cup match at Mount Smart Stadium.

There was little between the teams for much of the contest, the Bears leading 6-4 at halftime, the Vulcans snaring a 10-6 advantage for a time before North Sydney edged ahead 12-10.

That score-line remained for a long period in the second half a tense, high-quality battle, both sides defending outstandingly.

In the end experienced NRL centre Beau Champion played a critical hand in the later stages of the game.

First he punched a kick towards the Vulcans line, Justin Hunt hunting it down to score just a few centimetres inside the dead ball line. Dylan Walker converted to give the Bears a valuable eight-point lead with about eight minutes to go.

Try as they might the Vulcans couldnt find a way through before another kick by Champion yielded another try, this time to centre Shaune Corrigan.

Earlier in the match, the Bears had opened up with the first of two tries by Walker courtesy of a rolling kick winger Atelea Nafetalai failed to cover.

Nafetalai, though, atoned by scoring either side of halftime, the first off a Siliva Havili offload and the second when the Vulcans kept the ball alive spreading it wide to the left, Ropati providing the final pass.

Match details:

At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Auckland Vulcans 10 (Atelea Nafetalai 2 tries; Harry Siejka conversion).

North Sydney Bears 22 (Dylan Walker 2, Justin Hunt, Shaune Corrigan tries; Dylan Walker 3 conversions).

Halftime: 6-4 Bears.

Referee: Daniel Caddy.

Vulcans: Glen Fisiiahi; Tangi Ropati, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Jerome Ropati, Atelea Nafetalai; Carlos Tuimavave, Harry Siejka; Nathaniel Peteru, Siliva Havili; John Palavi, Suaia Matagi; Murray Iti. Interchange: Zoram Watene, Agnatius Paasi, Herman Retzlaff, Patrick Sipley.
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