The Vodafone Warriors surged into second spot on the Intrust Super Premiership ladder with their 32-16 10th-round win over Penrith at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
Mason Lino, called into the side as a last-minute replacement for the injured Jeff Robson, was the architect of the victory scoring a clever try and having a say in others with his deft kicking game close to the line.
With a try and four goals he accumulated 12 points.
The Panthers, with the late inclusion of centre Waqa Blake, looked like they had scored first early in the game through Josh Hall only to have Will Smith’s floating pass ruled forward by referee Philip Henderson.
But Hall wasn’t to be denied just a few minutes later when Smith’s cross field kick enabled the winger to use his superior aerial skills to score in the left corner to give Penrith an early 4-0 lead.
The Panthers could have easily had try number three on the board inside the opening 10 minutes but a try to Blake was disallowed after the play was called back for an obstruction.
The let-offs sparked the Vodafone Warriors into life and they soon levelled the scores in the 12th minute when a calamity of errors trying to defuse a bomb, enabled centre Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to snatch possession and crash over out wide.
The Vodafone Warriors withstood further pressure from Penrith before they took a 10-4 lead after 23 minutes when Ligi Sao crashed through some soft tryline defence to score. That lead would be maintained through to halftime as the game descended into an error-riddled contest.
The early exchanges in the second half saw both sides score a try each with Toafofoa Sipley’s 47th minute effort cancelled almost immediately by a try to Penrith centre Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, who finished off a slick backline movement to score.
But from there the Vodafone Warriors scored three unanswered tries to put the game out of Penrith’s reach.
They scored the first of those three tries midway through the second half when Lino grabbed a smart individual try, regathering his own grubber kick to score.
They were soon in again when a quick shift right ended with James Bell storming through the line to score out wide and from the next set another Vodafone Warriors grubber kick close to the tryline was seized upon by Semisi Tyrell to score out wide, putting the game out of Penrith’s grasps with a commanding 32-10 lead with twelve minutes remaining.
A late converted try to Will Smith puts some respectability back into the score line with five minutes remaining but the visitors were far too good winning 32-16.
The Vodafone Warriors take on Manly next week.
Match details | Pepper Stadium, Penrith
Penrith Panthers 16 (Josh Hall, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Will Smith tries; Josh Hall 2 conversion).
Vodafone Warriors 32 (Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Mason Lino, Toafofoa Sipley, Ligi Sao, Semisi Tyrell, James Bell tries; Mason Lino 4 conversion).
Referee: Philip Henderson.
Vodafone Warriors | Henare Wells; Ken Maumalo, Konrad Hurrell, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Tomas Aoake; Ata Hingano, Mason Lino; Albert Vete, Nathaniel Roache, Toafofoa Sipley; Ali Lauitiiti (c), Ligi Sao; Sam Lisone. Interchange: Upu Poching, Semisi Tyrell, James Bell, Paul Tuli.
This article was first published on www.nswrl.com.au