A strong second half display carried the Vodafone Warriors to a 36-22 win over Manly on Saturday and improved their table position to third in the New South Wales Cup competition.
The Stacey Jones-coached side went into the match without regulars Dominique Peyroux and Suaia Matagi – both with the NRL squad – as well as injured captain John Palavi and utility Viliami Kaveinga.
On the positive side 2014 Vodafone Junior Warriors co-captain Mason Lino was in the line-up for the first time this year.
The reshuffled combination was on the back foot early on conceding two tries to trail 0-10 but by halftime the Vodafone Warriors were in contact after crossing twice to be just 8-10 behind.
The second half was another story completely as the Vodafone Warriors piled on five tries and a total of 28 points to surge to their sixth win in nine games this season (their second on the road). Indeed they led 36-16 heading into the final moments only to allow the Sea Eagles to snare a consolation effort.
Centre David Fusitu’a was again prominent in his return to the side after his first NRL outing of the year against Gold Coast on Anzac Day. He scored an early try against the Titans but was stretchered off later with a neck injury which proved to be much less serious than it appeared.
Fusitu’a scored another double on Saturday giving him five tries in three NSW Cup games this season.
Also picking up a double against Manly was interchange prop Nathaniel Peteru while Lino made an impressive comeback from offseason shoulder surgery. He scored a try and also kicked three goals from three attempts after taking over the goal-kicking from Api Pewhairangi.
The Vodafone Warriors take on Wentworthville in the curtain-raiser to the NRL team’s game against Parramatta at Pirtek Stadium next Saturday.
Match details | Henson Park, Sydney
Manly Sea Eagles 22 (Dom Reardon, Delroy Berryman, Ben Fritz, James Hasson tries; Kurt Aldridge 3 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 36 (Nathaniel Peteru 2, David Fusitu’a 2, Marata Niukore, Jarrod Tua, Mason Lino tries; Mason Lino 3 conversions; Api Pewhairangi conversion).
Halftime: 10-8 Manly.
Referee: Drew Oultram.
Vodafone Warriors: Sam Cook; Ken Maumalo, Marata Niukore, David Fusitu’a, Jarrod Tua; Api Pewhairangi, Mason Lino; Sebastine Ikahihifo, Siliva Havili, Charlie Gubb; Sione Lousi (c), Raymond Faitala-Mariner; David Bhana. Interchange: Nathaniel Peteru, James Bell, Zac Tippins, Upu Poching.