The Vodafone Junior Warriors stitched together a controlled performance to earn a 22-12 victory over Wests Tigers in tonights 19th-round NYC clash at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
The result represented an important hit-back from their last start 38-40 loss to South Sydney on July 6 and also avenged one of the clubs most disappointing NYC defeats at the same ground last year, a contest the Tigers won 54-12.
This was a battle all the way, one which never had more than six points in it until the final few minutes when interchange prop Abraham Papalii scored his sides match-winning fourth try.
While there was little in the contest, though, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were never behind.
The match was 26 minutes old before the scoreboard was needed, standoff Tuimoala Lolohea feasting on an error to go 60 metres for his 14th try of the season. With his conversion it was 6-0 only for a level score-line to be restored with a converted Tigers try five minutes later.
It stayed 6-6 until the opening minutes of the second spell when winger Metia Lisati scored and Lolohea converted again for a 12-6 edge.
The Tigers werent going away and they soon locked it up 12-12 with their second converted try of the night.
The wrestle phase was on. Back and forth it went until the Vodafone Junior Warriors went in front for the third time with a Sione Feao try wide out. Lolohea couldnt convert but with 15 minutes to play the 16-12 lead was invaluable.
Showing composure the Vodafone Junior Warriors kept grinding it out on a night when their completion rate ran at 85 per cent (34 from 40 sets).
The reward for patience and building pressure came in the 77th minute when Papaliis try took his side out of reach.
With their 10th win of the season, the Vodafone Junior Warriors retained fourth spot on the ladder on a night when they became only the second team so far this season to bring up 500 points on attack.
Loloheas try and three goals lifted his points total to 82, 42 in the last three games.
At Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Wests Tigers 12 (Nathan Brown, Nathan Milone tries; Manaia Rudolph 2 conversions).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 22 (Tuimoala Lolohea, Metia Lisati, Sione Feao, Abraham Papalii tries; Tuimoala Lolohea 3 conversions).
Referee: Matt Noyen.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: Ngataua Hukatai; Metia Lisati, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Viliami Lolohea; Tuimoala Lolohea, Eko Malu; James Taylor, Michael Sio (c), Toafofoa Sipley; Stedman Lefau, Sione Feao; Sam Lisone. Interchange: Sam Cook, Katamiro Atera, Abraham Papalii, Kouma Samson.