After conceding 18 points in the opening 17 minutes, the Vodafone Warriors responded with seven unanswered tries en route to a 38-22 win over Illawarra in today’s 18th-round New South Wales Cup match at Mount Smart Stadium.
The home side’s 10th win of the season lifted it to the top of the ladder with Penrith on 26 points but second on points for and against.
Two tries in the last four minutes of the first half brought the defending NYC premiers back into the contest before they unleashed with five tries in the second spell to surge to a 38-18 lead.
While Illawarra scored the final try of the match, the Vodafone Warriors were irresistible as they amassed their 38 points in a 32-minute onslaught.
The end result hadn’t appeared too likely after the first stanza when the home side allowed the Cutters to score in the opening minute and then twice more soon after.
Having started indifferently, the Vodafone Warriors were unperturbed as they set about changing the momentum.
It came with a two-try raid in the dying minutes of the first half as first prop Sam Lisone and then interchange back rower James Bell crossed to bring the score-line back to 12-18 at the break.
The opening to the second half couldn’t have been any better as Dominque Peyroux went over from close range in the 42nd minute and then Mason Lino slipped through a perfectly-weighted grubber to score himself. Lino couldn’t convert either try but the Vodafone Warriors had taken the lead 20-18.
They maintained the rage from then on, first through standoff Ata Hingano stepping and dummying his way through and then quality football provided fullback Glen Fisiiahi with a double.
The first came when he ran off dummy half Nathaniel Roache and his second via slick ball movement to the right edge with Matt Allwood serving up a nice off load inside. Lino converted all three and the Vodafone Warriors were well in control.
They couldn’t add to their tally in the final 10 minutes but victory was assured by then.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 38 (Glen Fisiiahi 2, Sam Lisone, James Bell, Dominique Peyroux, Mason Lino, Ata Hingano tries; Mason Lino 5 conversions).
Illawarra Cutters 22 (Tyron Cranston, Sam Coster, Shannon Wakeman, Eli Roberts tries; Blake Wallace 3 conversions).
Halftime: 18-12 Illawarra.
Referee: Aaron Donald.
Vodafone Warriors: Glen Fisiiahi; Viliami Kaveinga, Matt Allwood, Dominique Peyroux, Ken Maumalo; Ata Hingano, Mason Lino; Sam Lisone, Nathaniel Roache, Sam Rapira; John Palavi (c), David Bhana; Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Upu Poching, James Bell, Ray Talimalie, Daniel Palavi.