For the second time this season the Vodafone Junior Warriors have fallen to a late defeat by the Sydney Roosters after being edged out 31-26 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Sunday night.
After going 16-22 behind early in the second half, the Vodafone Junior Warriors hung in to work their way back into the contest.
First prop Albert Vete scored and Solomone Kata converted to level the game up at 22-22 in the 66th minute and, from the restart, they engineered a try for halfback Eko Malu to lead 26-22 with 11 minutes to play.
It stayed that way only for a few minutes, though, with the match again levelled up again at 26-26 in the 73rd minute through a Dallas Wells try for the Roosters.
This time the Roosters broke the deadlock with a Tyler Cornish field goal and then sealed the result with another Wells try at the death.
The late defeat mirrored the second-round clash between the two sides at Eden Park when the Vodafone Junior Warriors were unable to hold on after leading inside the final minutes. That night the Roosters won 24-20.
Earlier in the Allianz Stadium match, Kata and centre Ken Maumalo scored inside the first 20 minutes to give the Vodafone Junior Warriors a 10-6 lead but the Roosters responded with two tries in the final 10 minutes of the half to lead 16-10 at the break.
With a Sione Feao try soon after halftime, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were back on even terms at 16-16 in a battle that was an arm wrestle all the way.
At Allianz Stadium, Randwick
Sydney Roosters 31 (Shaquille Blair 2, Dallas Wells 2, Jack Siejka, Jack Goodsell tries; Brendan Elliot 3 conversions; Tyler Cornish field goal).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 26 (Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Sione Feao, Albert Vete, Eko Malu tries; Solomone Kata 3 conversions).
Halftime: 16-10 Roosters.
Referee: Chris Sutton.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: David Fusitua; Alamoti Finau, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Viliami Lolohea; Tuimoala Lolohea, Eko Malu; Albert Vete, Michael Sio, Abraham Papalii; Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard; David Bhana (c). Interchange: Sam Cook, Sam Lisone, James Taylor, Sione Feao.