NSW CUP: Vulcans 26, Wests Tigers 24

Vodafone Warriors back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo ... one of the Auckland Vulcans' try scorers in their dramatic 26-24 New South Wales Cup win over Wests Tigers on Saturday. Photo: Photosport.


Back-to-back wins for the first time this season have lifted the Auckland Vulcans to fifth spot on the New South Wales Cup points table.


After their 28-6 away win over the Mounties two weeks ago and a bye last week, the Vulcans held on for a 26-24 win in a thrilling encounter against Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday.


It lifted them to nine points and outright fifth spot, a position they retained after second-placed North Sydney beat seventh-placed Wentworthville 46-18 in Sydney on Sunday.


The Vulcans third win of this campaign was achieved in dramatic circumstances.


After holding a solid 16-8 halftime lead, they quickly lost the advantage as the Tigers hit them with two converted tries to leap into a 20-16 lead.


Twice, though, centre Atelea Nafetalai, who trained with the Vodafone Warriors NRL squad in the offseason, proved a hero.


His first try and Harry Siejkas conversion had the Vulcans edging ahead 22-20 only to concede the lead as the Tigers went 24-22 ahead with their fifth try of the day (critically unconverted).


With eight minutes to play, the Vulcans were desperate to regain the lead for the second and most important time in the second half.


And it was Nafetalai who struck again, crossing for a try Siejka couldnt convert to have his side 26-24 in front, a lead they protected for the final frantic minutes.


Earlier in the match the Vulcans manufactured three first half tries through winger Tangi Ropati, Vodafone Warriors back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo and Vodafone Warriors prop Suaia Matagi. Vodafone Warrior Siejka converted one and added a penalty.


The Vulcans have a difficult challenge next weekend when theyre away to top of the table Cronulla before meeting lowly Wyong at Westpac Stadium on May 11 (the first match of a triple header when the Vodafone Warriors plat the Bulldogs).


Match details:


At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Auckland Vulcans 26 (Atelea Nafetalai 2, Tangi Ropati, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Suaia Matagi tries; Harry Siejka 2 conversions, penalty).

Wests Tigers 24 (Tim Simona 2, Sean Meaney, Josh Davis, Inno Inosesio tries; Sean Meaney 2 conversions).

Halftime: 16-8 Vulcans.

Referee: Jamal Thompson.


Vulcans: Glen Fisiiahi; Tangi Ropati, Agnatius Paasi, Atelea Nafetalai, Zoram Watene; Cody Walker, Harry Siejka; Charlie Gubb, Siliva Havili, Suaia Matagi; John Palavi, Sebastine Ikahihifo; Murray Iti. Interchange: Alehana Mara, Daniel Palavi, Patrick Sipley, Nathaniel Peteru.