South Sydney’s 12-point surge in the final 10 minutes converted an 18-20 deficit into a 30-20 win over the Vodafone Junior Warriors in today’s 23rd-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
After leading 14-12 at the break, the Vodafone Warriors opened up a 20-12 edge when captain Sheldon Pitama scored in the 59th minute after bouncing out of dummy half on the back of a Kenese Kenese hit up.
The eight-point lead wouldn’t last long, though, with the Rabbitohs closing to 18-20 four minutes later with a Brock Gray try converted by Chad O’Donnell.
Into the last 10 minutes it became 20-20 through an O’Donnell penalty before Souths went 24-20 ahead through centre Mawene Hiroti.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors probed and pressed in search of victory but couldn’t breach the Rabbitohs’ line. Instead the visitors sealed the deal with a 79th-minute try to second rower Tarquinn Butler.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 20 (Kane Telea, Jerome Mamea, Sheldon Pitama tries; Kane Telea 3 conversions, penalty).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 (Maia Sands, Harry Ledoy, Brock Gray, Mawene Hitori, Tarquinn Butler tries; Chad O’Donnell 4 conversions, penalty).
Halftime: 14-12 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Chris Treneman.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kane Telea; Lewis Soosemea, Melino Fineanganofo, Jerome Mamea, Matt Faitotoa; Eiden Ackland, Chanel Harris-Tavita; Kenese Kenese, Sheldon Pitama (c), Keanu Dawson; Joseph Vuna, Joseph Price; Bunty Afoa. Interchange: Mattais Heimuli, Chris Sio, Tyler Mohi, Cyrus Timo-Latu.