It may not have been on the global scale of Oracles exceptional Americas Cup comeback but the ebb and flow was no less remarkable as the Vodafone Junior Warriors won in scarcely credible circumstances tonight to reach their third NYC grand final in four years. Photo: Photosport


Instead of a flood tide, a torrent of 16 tries and 92 points rained down as the 2010-2011 premiers and Canterbury-Bankstown staged a preliminary final stunner at ANZ Stadium.


It ended with the Vodafone Junior Warriors winning 54-38 so lifting their points tally to 112 in their last two finals games to earn themselves a shot at the clubs third NYC premiership and the chance to reward departing coach John Ackland with the ultimate farewell gift.


That can wait with Canberra and Penrith to decide tomorrow which side will make up the cast in the title showdown on Sunday week (October 6).


Whatever happens they surely wont come close to matching the fare supplied by the Vodafone Junior Warriors and the Bulldogs tonight.


Stripping it back to basic numbers, the Vodafone Junior Warriors raced to a 16-0 lead with three tries in the space of eight minutes before the Bulldogs responded with a run of 34 unanswered points in a 27-minute spree to lead 34-16 straight after halftime.


Against most sides it would have spelt the end but not for the Vodafone Junior Warriors and not in a competition like this where points can be and all too often are scored in a blink.


So it was here and now as they bit back with three tries in seven minutes to draw level at 34-34 after 58 minutes. Breathtaking? Yes, in the extreme but this wasnt done yet as the Bulldogs briefly went 38-34 ahead with their seventh try of the night only for this crazy match to finish with another late turbo blast which produced 20 points for the Vodafone Junior Warriors to win by 16.


Defence may not have been close to the standard desired in finals football but the entertainment factor was beyond measure.


There was precision initially as the Vodafone Junior Warriors continued where they left off against the Roosters a week earlier. They scored the last 36 points of the day in their 58-6 victory and quickly extended the run to 52 points without reply in the first 15 minutes tonight. Again they mixed their blend of power, pace and skill perfectly.


At 16-0 the match was going one way until it was turned on a captains challenge. Vodafone Junior Warriors prop James Taylor carted the ball forward and earned a penalty for a strip; the Bulldogs, though, challenged and on review the call was overruled, changed from a penalty to the Vodafone Junior Warriors to a knock-on against Taylor and an attacking scrum feed for the opposition.


That one call would trigger a run of six straight tries and 34 points for the Bulldogs with the Vodafone Junior Warriors barely able to get their hands on the ball.


Not until the 51st minute did they experience the scoring sensation again, Viliami Lolohea with a try which would ignite a match-winning spree.


For the second straight week halfback Mason Lino kicked nine of 10 attempts at goal while also racing away from a try off a David Fusitua break up the middle of the park to give him 22 points in total.


After scoring four tries last week, Tuimoala Lolohea couldnt make the try-scoring sheet this time. Indeed the teams only multiple try scorer came from an unlikely source in barrel-like prop James Taylor, who thundered over for a double within three minutes to draw his side level at 34-34.

Taylor had an enormous all-round game, provisionally credited with 224 metres from 19 runs.


The result leaves the Vodafone Junior Warriors with comfortably the best win-loss record in NYC finals football history. Having reached the play-offs in each of the NYCs six seasons, they have won 11 of their 15 finals matches and now prepare to make it 12 from 16 on Sunday week in their quest for a third premiership.


To achieve it theyll have to beat either the minor premiers the Canberra Raiders or the second-ranked Penrith. They had a win away and a loss at home to the Panthers and a draw away and a loss at home to the Raiders.


The Vodafone Junior Warriors return home on Saturday to begin a long build-up to decision day on October 6.


Match details:

At ANZ Stadium, Homebush

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 38 (Jaelen Feeney 2, Lloyd Perrett, John Talioe Sila, Shaun Lane, Herman Ese'ese, Dujean Manuel-Liolevave tries; Patrick Templeman 5 conversions).

Vodafone Junior Warriors 54 (James Taylor 2, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Siliva Havili, Metia Lisati, Villiami Lolohea, Mason Lino, Albert Vete, Ngataua Hukatai tries; Mason Lino 8 conversions, penalty).

Halftime: 28-16 Bulldogs.

Referees: David Munro and Adam Gee.


Vodafone Junior Warriors: David Fusitua; Metia Lisati, Ngataua Hukatai, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Viliami Lolohea; Tuimoala Lolohea, Mason Lino; Albert Vete, Siliva Havili, James Taylor; Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Michael Sio; David Bhana (c). Interchange: Eko Malu, Sam Lisone, Kouma Samson, Solomone Kata.