The Vodafone Junior Warriors rebounded from back-to-back home defeats with an emphatic 42-20 away victory over the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
The win not only avenged a loss at home to the Roosters last month but further embellished the side’s impressive form on the road.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors had gone into this match with just two wins in their last six games, both of those away against Gold Coast and South Sydney. In fact, this was their fourth road win on end, one which ensured they retained fifth spot on 23 points, just a point behind fourth-placed Canberra and two points ahead of next week’s opponent Manly.
Heading into the last 10 minutes, the Vodafone Junior Warriors led the Roosters 42-10 and seemed to be on track to crack 50 and go on to their biggest win of the season.
It didn’t materialise with the Roosters grabbing two tries to reduce the damage but the result was still a significant boost for the Vodafone Junior Warriors, more so at a stage of the season when they have been operating without a number of more experienced players.
In that regard they suffered more setbacks this week. Wing Paul Ulberg and second rower Matiu Love-Henry were ruled out after originally being named and standoff Brad Abbey was forced off the field in the first half after a head knock and was unable to return. Hooker Chris Sio was also sidelined.
Despite the disruptions, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were in compelling form for most of the contest, initially in the first 25 minutes when they scored three tries to lead 16-0 and more so in the first 30 minutes of the second half when they added five more tries.
The Roosters were unable to contain the Vodafone Junior Warriors across the park, especially in the forwards where Bunty Afoa, Paul Tuli, Ofahiki Ogden, Jazz Tevaga and Tualima Tualima marched forward impressively; they all made 130 metres or more. Their dominance was also reflected in Ogden, Tualima, Tevaga and replacement hooker Casey Lafaele scoring four of the team’s eight tries.
Left wing Lewis Soosemea had a double, his first try a stunner from well out when showed off a full range of skills, while centre Marata Niukore backed up his hat-trick last week with another try.
Match details | Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sydney Roosters 20 (Latrell Mitchell 2, Ryan King, Richard Skelton tries; Paul Momirovski 2 conversions).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 42 (Lewis Soosemea 2, Casey Lafaele, Brad Abbey, Marata Niukore, Tualima Tualima, Ofahiki Ogden, Jazz Tevaga tries; Brad Abbey 2 conversions; Mikaere Beattie 3 conversions).
Halftime: 16-6 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Referees: Jon Stone and Lawrie McDonell.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: Tomas Aoake; Lewis Soosemea, Marata Niukore, Semisi Tyrell, Junior Pauga; Brad Abbey, Erin Clark; Bunty Afoa (c), Casey Lafaele, Paul Tuli; Ofahiki Ogden, Koli Oneone; Jazz Tevaga. Interchange: Mikaere Beattie, Tualima Tualima, Amoni Tufui, Tyrone Nathan.