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Vodafone Junior Warriors centre Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard doubled his career try tally with four touchdowns in today's NYC clash against Manly. Photo: Photosport

An uneven penalty count and a contentious final try robbed the Vodafone Junior Warriors of a comeback win over Manly in todays 22nd-round NYC clash at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

Having trailed 10-16 heading towards halftime and 22-32 again midway through the second half, they came back to lead before ultimately being forced to settle for their second draw of the season.

Ironically it was only the second penalty they were awarded in the entire match which gave them an opportunity albeit a difficult one to win the contest in the final seconds.

Two minutes earlier Manly had been awarded a dubious try to Latrell Schaumkel to level up at 36-36, Michael Stig hitting an upright with his attempted conversion. There appeared to be some doubt over the try but the Vodafone Junior Warriors were unable to challenge it.

Up to that point the second half penalties were running 5-0 in the home sides favour and 7-1 overall but finally a penalty came the Vodafone Junior Warriors way when Tuimoala Lolohea was taken out late as he chased his own kick ahead.

Halfback Mason Lino eyed the posts from just inside the 30-metre mark and way out near the touchline. The attempt was just off target, leaving the Vodafone Junior Warriors with a draw which lifted them to 30 points, level with Penrith but fourth on points for and against (just a point ahead of Canterbury-Bankstown).

The result was much less than the Vodafone Junior Warriors would have expected against the competitions bottom-placed club, especially having beaten them 52-20 when they met in June.

Coming into the match with three straight wins, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were off the mark early on as they conceded a 0-12 lead and were 4-16 down at the 30-minute mark.

In a blink the complexion of the contest changed as Lolohea chased down a Lino banana kick, stepped past defenders and scored to lift his seasons total to 100 points. Two more tries followed before the halftime break Lolohea converting all of them and the Vodafone Junior Warriors were ahead 22-16.

Just as swiftly they surrendered their advantage, though, as Manly replied with a three-try assault to leap to a 32-22 lead.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors needed to scramble to avoid further damage and gradually they turned the situation around.

After two tries in the first half, centre Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard used his power and strength to snare another two (doubling his career try tally) while prop Kouma Samson went the direct route to complete a great recovery operation. His try and Linos conversion had the Vodafone Warriors leading 36-32 with eight minutes to play only to concede the late contentious try.

Match details:

At Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

Manly Sea Eagles 36 (Fabian Goodall 2, Sam Short, Will Pearsall, Matt Ikuvalu, Regan Haika, Latrell Schaumkel tries; Regan Haika 4 conversions).

Vodafone Junior Warriors 36 (Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard 4, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sam Cook, Koumaa Samson tries; Mason Lino 3 conversions; Tuimoala Lolohea conversion).

Halftime: 22-16 Vodafone Junior Warriors.

Referees: Peter Gough and Matt Noyen.

Vodafone Junior Warriors: Ngataua Hukatai; Metia Lisati, Solomone Kata, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Braxton Stanley; Tuimoala Lolohea, Eko Malu; James Taylor, Michael Sio (c), Kouma Samson, Stedman Lefau, Sione Feao; Sam Cook. Interchange: Mason Lino, Sam Lisone, Abraham Papalii, Toafofoa Sipley.
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