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Young Warriors fans. NRL trial match, Vodafone Warriors vs Penrith Panthers, International Stadium, Rotorua, New Zealand. Saturday, 14 February, 2015. Photo: John Cowpland /

The Vodafone Warriors are taking on Penrith in Rotorua today in the club's only major NRL trial ahead of the 2015 season.

Head coach Andrew McFadden has named a side stacked with experienced including new signings Ryan Hoffman, Bodene Thompson and Matt Allwood.

Starting in the halves are Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend while the combination in the outside backs is one of the youngest and most exciting the club has fielded.

First Quarter:

2'00" | Solid first set in possession from the Vodafone Warriors.

3'00" | Penrith penalty followed by another. Third set in possession for Panthers but throw possession away. Loose ball scooped up by Ken Maumalo. Great set finishes with kick going into touch 10 metres out from Penrith's line.

6.00" | Great hands, Johnson finds space for Tomkins, links up with Kata. Try on but last pass ruled forward.

10'00" | Third penalty for Penrith. Start set from 30 metres out.

13'00" | Great goal-lin defence from Vodafone Warriors but fourth penalty conceded. Now fifth penalty.

15'00" | Fantastic defence in the face of three repeat sets and finally the Vodafone Warriors get a penalty but make error early in the count on halfway.

18'00" | Panthers turn possession over and compund it by conceding a penalty. Kata can't stay in field of play 15 metres out, Penrith scrum feed.

20'00" | Vodafone Warriors awarded another penalty but Shaun Johnson doesn't find touch. Drinks break. It's 0-0 after 20 minutes. Very solid first 20 minutes from Vodafone Warriors. Aggressive defence especially in own red zone.


Second quarter:

22'00" | TRY! Started inside 20. Finishes with Vodafone Warriors going to short left edge. Sweet hands, Tomkins flicking onto Laumape who sends Maumalo in at the corner, leaping to put it down one-handed. Johnson's conversion was just wide to the right.


26'00' | Yet another penalty for Penrith (holding down too long in the tackle). 

28'00" | Tomkins mops up kick in-goal. Goal-line drop out. More defence for Vodafone Warriors near their line.

30'00" | Another penalty for Penrith and from repeat set ball shifted right finding the Vodafone Warriors short-handed, try for wing Robert Jennings. Jamie Soward's conversion just outside the right-hand upright.


32'00" | Penalties keep flowing for Penrith. From another the Vodafone Warriors are defensive duty again. Roll in last tackle kick, mopped up but another goal-line drop out.

35'00" | Great hustle of defence. Vodafone Warriors force hand over after defending yet another set on their line.

36'00" | Vodafone Warriors go to their left edge near Penrith's 20 but can't connect, loose pass swooped up by the Panthers.

39'00" | Another Vodafone Warriors penalty, make that back-to-back penalties. Chance to set up something from 10 metres out. On the halftime siren Vodafone Warriors aim attack to their right but attack breaks down.


Loving the Vodafone Warriors' intent, aggression and effectiveness on defence. They've turned Penrith away time and time again defending repeat sets inside their red zone. Nice work for their only try to rookie Ken Maumalo while a couple of other opportunities have been missed.

Third Quarter:

41'00" | Early penalty in the second half. Great spin from Tomkins. Nearly gets through.

45.00" | Penalty Vodafone Warriors. On attack. 

46'00" | TRY! Vodafone Warriors go left, gets to the big man Maumalo, goes across in tackles. Is he held up or is it a try? Maumalo claims it and referee agree. Jiohnson's conversion wide.


49'00" | Ball lost from the restart and then a penalty for Penrith but the Vodafone Warriors do the business again in defence taking Christian Crighton into touch.

53'00" | Vodafone Warriors turn possession over in Penrith's half. Panthers earn repeat set forcing goal-line drop-out off a last tackle kick. Defensive shift again.

56'00" | Tomkins cleans up kick, taken high but no penalty awarded. Bit of a shape-up and tension building. No love here on Valentine's Day. Vodafone Warriors ruck it out from their line, Solomone Kata takes it into contact and is set upon by multiple tacklers. Panthers penalised.

59'00" | Attacking set after another penalty. Kata goes close, spread it wide to right and Tomkins kick chased down by three players to force goal-line drop-out. Drinks break taken with play to re-start with goal-line drop-out, Vodafone Warriors on attack.


Only points of the quarter to Vodafone Warriors with Maiumalo's second try. Several changes made during the quarter. Defence again impressive.

Fourth Quarter:

62'00" | Perfect start to the quarter, Voidafone Warriors lighting up on attack from goal-line drop-out, setting up to hit the right where Johnson and Tomkins combine to put Marata Niukore over. Johnson's kick from handy angle was astray.


65'00" | Vodafone Warriors called back for forward pass, Penrith swoop on attack. Vodafone Warriors loose possession trying to clean up kick but then Panthers do the same hot on attack. Tomkins given a rest. Huge ovation. Fans full of admiration for his performance. Class.

66'00" | TRY! From the scrum, the Vodafone Warriors open Penrith up in the middle of the field. Nice feet from Sam Lisone, Albert Vete in support and onto Magic Johnson. Seems to be grabbed but bounces away from tacklers and then scorches away for try. Speed as usual and with all sorts of support inside. Chad Townsend provides the first conversion of the day. Captain Thomas Leuluai earns a rest and another great ovation. Same for Johnson as he goes to the bench.


71'00" | Good set from the restart and brilliant chase on last-tackle kick to force another goal-line drop out.

80'00" | All over. Victory in Rotorua again. Impressive showing with strong second half effort.


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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