The Vodafone Warriors led from start to finish in beating Wentworthville 32-20 in Saturday’s 13th-round Intrust Super Premiership encounter at Mount Smart Stadium.
Their sixth consecutive victory and their eighth of the season ensured they retain a hold on second spot on the points table behind the Mounties.
While they started well with tries to powerhouse prop Toafofoa Sipley and hooker Jazz Tevaga in the opening 20 minutes, the second quarter provided some frustrations for coach Stacey Jones as errors allowed the young Magpies to bite into the lead.
Now under the guidance of former Kiwi captain and Parramatta legend Nathan Cayless, Wentworthville had reason to be well-pleased with their effort in the closing minutes of the half.
First centre John Folau scored and then second rower Cody Nelson beat everyone to a grubber kick to leave the Magpies just 10-12 down at the break.
There was a huge gulf in experience in the two sides. The Vodafone Warriors could count 12 players with NRL experience while Wentworthville had as many as seven under-20 players involved.
Brave as the Magpies were, the second half played out differently as the Vodafone Warriors immediately settled into their work in the opening minutes of the second period.
Sipley showed his immense strength when he charged at the line. He was checked but kept moving and rolled around to his right to get the ball down despite the attention of multiple defenders.
A lead of 18-10 quickly ballooned to 26-10 with left wing Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad snaring an Ata Hingano cross-field chip to score wide out and tall second rower Shaun Lane running a good line off Jeff Robson for his third try in two games.
The Magpies wouldn’t go away, though, coming back at the home side with a try to left wing Tui Oloapu, acrobatically planting the ball after collecting a kick in behind the defensive line.
The Vodafone Warriors weren’t finished as they put together a quality try, centre Jonathan Wright spearing through and finding fullback Henare Wells on his inside to finish off.
Wentworthville came up with the final say to cut the losing margin to 12 points.
Vodafone Warriors prop James Gavet was named man of the match. In 55 minutes on the field he made 182 metres from 17 runs and made 26 tackles.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 32 (Toafofoa Sipley 2, Jazz Tevaga, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Shaun Lane, Henare Wells tries; Ata Hingano 4 conversions).
Wentworthville Magpies 20 (John Folau, Cody Nelson, Tui Oloapu, Rory O’Brien tries; Matt Woods conversion; Michael Doolan ).
Halftime: 12-10 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Jamal Thompson.
Vodafone Warriors | Henare Wells; Ken Maumalo, Jonathan Wright, Matt Allwood, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad; Ata Hingano, Jeff Robson; James Gavet, Jazz Tevaga, Toafofoa Sipley; Ali Lauitiiti, Shaun Lane; John Palavi (c). Interchange: Mason Lino, Upu Poching, James Bell, Tomas Aoake.