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Junior Warriors' Iulio Afoa  in action during the Holden Cup rugby league match - Junior Warriors v Junior Bulldogs played at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on Sunday 18 May 2014.  Photo:  Bruce Lim /

Second half defensive shutouts proved to be the theme of the day for the Vodafone Warriors in both their NYC and NRL encounters with Gold Coast in Robina on Saturday night.

Later in the evening the NRL side would recover from a narrow 14-16 halftime deficit by scoring 10 unanswered second half points to win 24-16 and earlier the Stacey Jones-coached Vodafone Junior Warriors set the scene with a clean sheet of their own in the second 40 minutes.

It came after they had gone to halftime 8-16 down. By the end of the clash they had scored two converted tries to take the match by four points, their sixth win of the season lifting them to 12 points and consolidating their position inside the top eight.

The victory was significant given the late changes required following the loss of Lafu Feagaiga and Mikaere Beattie as well as the fact the side was coming off a heartbreaking one-point loss to Canterbury-Bankstown.

Gold Coast boasted only two wins but looked anything like a side sitting near the foot of the competition when it worked its way to a 16-4 lead not too far short of halftime.

The only joy for the Vodafone Junior Warriors had been a try down the left edge to centre Alamoti Finau.

Critically, though, the second try came close to the break when Ngataua Hukatai, making his first appearance of the season, scored off a short ball from Nathaniel Roache.

Then just minutes into the second half the Vodafone Junior Warriors scored again through back rower Matiu Love-Henry which left then just 14-16 behind with 35 minutes to play.

It stayed that way until big centre Ken Maumalo, who has appeared in every game this season, powered over for the match-winning try Ata Hingano converted for a 20-16 lead.

The Vodafone Junior Warriors face an acid test next Sunday (June 1) when they take on the impressive competition-leading Newcastle side.

Match details:

At Cbus Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast Titans 16 (Jahrome Hughes, Parahi Wilson, Jaiden Hawkes tries; Deacon Fletcher 2 conversions).

Vodafone Junior Warriors 20 (Alamoti Finau, Ngataua Hukatai, Matiu Love-Henry, Ken Maumalo tries; Ata Hingano 2 conversions).

Halftime: 16-8 Titans.

Referees: Chris James and Clayton Sharpe.

Vodafone Junior Warriors: Brad Abbey; Paul Ulberg, Alamoti Finau, Ken Maumalo, John Wesley Tauti; Mafoa’aeata Hingano, Nathaniel Roache; Iulio Afoa, Kurt Robinson, Kouma Samson; Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Matiu Love-Henry; James Bell. Interchange: Ngataua Hukatai, Toafofoa Sipley, Ofahiki Ogden, Jazz Tevaga.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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