Canterbury-Bankstown handed the Vodafone Warriors their first home defeat of the season storming to a 52-8 victory in today’s 13th-round New South Wales Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Vodafone Warriors went into the game lying third on the ladder with a record showing five straight wins at home, the latest a 28-22 victory over Newcastle last Sunday.
If they were to make it six on end they’d have to do so with a side missing 2015 regulars Ken Maumalo, Dominique Peyroux and Sebastine Ikahihifo, who all travelled to Perth for the NRL side’s encounter with South Sydney. They also lost highly promising prop Toafofoa Sipley who was taken from the field with a knee injury in his debut last week while the likes of Sione Lousi, John Palavi and Matt Allwood are still on the injury list.
The upshot was coach Stacey Jones was forced to dip further into the Auckland club competition to field a side. Arden McCarthy was again in the centres and he was joined by Stedman Lefau, Daniel Palavi and Kouma Samson, the latter back home after a season in France following his premiership-winning involvement with the Vodafone Junior Warriors last year.
Of the 17 players Jones had today 15 were graduates from the club’s NYC side (or still eligible in the case of wing Paul Ulberg and debutant hooker Nathaniel Roache).
Initially there was no hint of the tough day that lay ahead as the young Vodafone Warriors side put themselves in position to open the scoring and duly did, halfback Mason Lino pouncing on a spilled bomb to score his side’s first try.
That would be the beginning and end of it with the Bulldogs responding swiftly with two tries to take the lead and ignite a scoring spree.
The chief beneficiary was wing Tyrone Phillips who feasted on the opportunities that came his way all too often on the right edge. He was given an easy passage to the line for two tries in the first half and had two more in the second half, although he had to work a little harder for them.
The Bulldogs scored five tries in the first 40 minutes while the only other points the Vodafone Warriors managed came from a Lino penalty after the halftime siren.
The second half produced two quick strikes for the visitors to take the lead to 40-8. The Vodafone Warriors were able to stem the flow for a long period only to yield two late tries.
It was the second big defeat for the Vodafone Warriors in their last three games. With playing resources affected by the club’s injury toll, they went down 6-48 to Wenwtworthville on May 16, recovered to beat the Knights last week but have now slumped to another heavy loss.
Despite the results they remain in contact with the top of the table with the second-placed Mounties also losing today. The Vodafone Warriors are fifth and could still be just two points off the lead in the congested competition.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 8 (Mason Lino try, conversion, penalty).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 52 (Tyrone Phillips 4, Dane Chisholm 2, David Minute, Damien Cook, Levi Dodd, Shaun Lane tries; Chase Stanley 6 conversions).
Halftime: 28-8 Bulldogs.
Referee: Shane Rehm.
Vodafone Warriors: Sam Cook; Paul Ulberg, Arden McCarthy, David Fusitu’a, Viliami Kaveinga; Api Pewhairangi, Mason Lino; Charlie Gubb (c), Nathaniel Roache, Nathaniel Peteru; Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Stedman Lefau; David Bhana (c). Interchange: James Bell, Zac Tippins, Kouma Samson, Daniel Palavi.