Eight tries including Api Pewhairangi’s haul of 20 points propelled the Vodafone Warriors to a 44-20 win over Wentworthville in today’s third-round New South Wales Cup game at Mount Smart Stadium.
With two wins in three starts the Vodafone Warriors sit well up the ladder in fourth spot at this early stage of the season.
The margin was set to be 30 points plus when the home side led 44-12 late in the contest but two tries in rapid succession reduced the scoreboard damage a little for the visitors.
The two sides traded early tries, first the Vodafone Warriors through left wing Jarrod Tua and soon after the Eels through Joseph Ualesi but from there on the home side took ownership of the contest.
Three tries in quick succession had them out to a 22-6 lead and, while they allowed the Eels to check their progress with their second try, the Vodafone Warriors went to the break 14 points clear after Pewhairangi finished off another great raid for his first try of the day against his old side.
Five tries in the first half were followed by another three in the second half to stretch the lead to 44-12 before Parramatta’s late response.
Pewhairangi again impressed with his involvement as did the comeback man, 36-year-old centre George Carmont. First he was involved in giving his wing Tua a dream start to the game with two tries and then he cashed in with two tries himself giving him three in his first two outings after making a shock return last week.
The Vodafone Warriors certainly benefited from the spread of NRL experience they had across their squad with a total of 10 players able to claim first-grade appearances, notably so in the case of Carmont (Super League as well), Sione Lousi, Suaia Matagi, Dominique Peyroux and Sebastine Ikahihifo; they all have 30 or more NRL games behind them.
In their three matches the Vodafone Warriors have scored 88 points and conceded 64, up among the best in the competition so far. Only two teams – the Mounties and Wests Tigers – are unbeaten after three rounds.
Next Sunday the Vodafone Warriors are at home again, playing North Sydney in the main curtain-raiser ahead of the club’s 20th anniversary NRL clash against Brisbane at Mount Smart Stadium. The Bears won in the opening round but have lost their last two, slumping to a 12-50 defeat by the Illawarra Cutters in the third round.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 44 (Jarrod Tua 2, George Carmont 2, Api Pewhairangi 2, Siliva Havili, Sebastine Ikahihifo tries; Api Pewhairangi 6 conversions).
Wentworthville Magpies 20 (Joseph Ualesi, Fabian Goodall, Bureta Faraimo, Halauafu Lavaka tries; Luke Kelly 2 conversions).
Halftime: 26-12 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Aaron Donald.
Vodafone Warriors: Matt Allwood; Saula Solomona, Dominique Peyroux, George Carmont, Jarrod Tua; Api Pewhairangi, Sam Cook; Suaia Matagi, Siliva Havili, Sebastine Ikahihifo; Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Sione Lousi; John Palavi (c). Interchange: David Bhana, Charlie Gubb, Nathaniel Peteru, James Bell.