Mason Lino snapped a 78th-minute field goal to seal a vital 21-14 away win over Illawarra today keeping the Vodafone Warriors on top of the Intrust Super Premiership ladder.
The Ricky Henry-coached side was behind for much of the contest but muscled up to stay in it and grind out a fourth straight victory.
The Steelers, with two wins and a loss in the opening three rounds, led 12-0 after 19 minutes with former Vodafone Warrior Siliva Havili one of their try scorers.
For the next 60 minutes, though, the Vodafone Warriors restricted Illawarra to just a penalty while scoring four tries and 21 points to secure success.
Unconverted tries by hooker Nathaniel Roache - making his return from injury - and wing Junior Pauga kept the visitors in contact at the halftime break.
The Vodafone Warriors showed plenty of defensive steel on their line to deny the Steelers early in the second half although the home side took a 14-8 lead with a Shaun Nona penalty.
They kept grinding, though, with Sam Cook - switched to the wing to make way for Ata Hingano to come into the halves - finished spectacularly out wide in the 54th minute. Lino converted brilliantly to have it all locked up 14-14.
Soon after Pauga intercepted near his line creating the opportunity for Jazz Tevaga to score the go-ahead try, again converted by Lino.
The halfback, typically dictating the tone of the game, calmly potted his field goal to wrap up the points with time running out.
As well as having Hingano returning from the NRL side, the Vodafone Warriors also had Albert Vete starting in the front row and Erin Clark at hooker.
Details | WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Illawarra Steelers 14 (Siliva Havili, Patrick Herbert tries; Shaun Nona 2 conversions, penalty)
Vodafone Warriors 21 (Nathaniel Roache, Junior Pauga, Sam Cook, Jazz Tevaga tries; Mason Lino 2 conversions, field goal).
Halftime: 12-8 Steelers.
Vodafone Warriors | Chanze Nicoll-Klokstad; Junior Pauga, Blake Ayshford, Matt Allwood, Sam Cook; Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Mason Lino (c); Albert Vete, Erin Clark, Patrick Sipley; Ofa Ogden, Isaiah Papali’i; James Bell. Interchange: Jazz Tevaga, Nathaniel Roache, Chris Satae, Daniel Palavi.