Three converted tries in the last 12 minutes turned a 16-22 deficit into a spectacular 34-24 win for the Vodafone Junior Warriors when they faced South Sydney in today’s 13th-round NYC clash at Redfern Oval in Sydney.
With the two clubs’ NRL sides meeting in Perth for the third consecutive year, the NYC match-up has been played at the Rabbitohs’ famous old home ground.
In their first two attempts the Vodafone Junior Warriors lost 38-40 and 26-28 but found success this time, their seventh win – and their third on the road – keeping them in the top four on the ladder.
The win was all the more pleasing coming just six days after a 16-36 loss to Newcastle.
After conceding a 0-8 start, the Vodafone Junior Warriors made a statement in the second quarter by scoring three tries to take a 16-8 halftime lead.
Left wing Tomas Aoake started the run with his 12th try of the season, centre Marata Niukore put on some footwork for the next and interchange prop Amoni Tufui scored his first try in the competition.
Having worked to a lead the Vodafone Junior Warriors then lost it as the Rabbitohs produced a three-try salvo of their own to grab the lead 24-16 after 60 minutes.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors remained patient, though, staying in the grind and then striking when the opening came in the 68th minute with centre Semisi Tyrell using his strength to get across when he seemed sure to be contained. With Ata Hingano’s conversion on target, the Rabbitohs were just 24-22 ahead.
Six minutes later the Vodafone Junior Warriors had the lead with Tyrell the provider again, his try converted by Hingano to have the defending premiers 28-24 ahead with five minutes to go.
There was still time for one more for the visitors, fullback Brad Abbey putting Aoake away for his second try and his 13th of the season.
With the result the Vodafone Junior Warriors moved up to 17 points and now look forward to taking on the Roosters – currently fifth – at Mount Smart Stadium next Saturday.
Match details | Redfern Oval, Sydney
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 (Siosifa Talakai, Jordie Hedges, Treyvon Leuluai, Wallace Tangiiti tries; Jordie Hedges 3 conversions, penalty).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 34 (Tomas Aoake 2, Semisi Tyrell 2, Marata Niukore, Amoni Tufui tries; Ata Hingano 5 conversions).
Halftime: 16-8 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Referee: Tim Roby.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: Brad Abbey; Tomas Aoake, Marata Niukore, Semisi Tyrell, Koli Oneone; Ata Hingano, Mikaere Beattie; Bunty Afoa, Erin Clark, Paul Tuli; Matiu Love-Henry, Ofahiki Ogden; Jazz Tevaga. Interchange: Junior Pauga, Amoni Tufui, Chris Sio, Tualima Tualima.