The Vodafone Warriors' unbeaten run came to an end when they lost 14-20 to the Wyong Roos in today's ninth-round Intrust Super Premiership clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The defeat also cost the home side the competition lead with Wyong taking over at the top.
In the first five minutes, the Vodafone Warriors were rewarded with two penalties as the Roos were punished for holding down too long in the tackle.
From another repeat set, Tuimoala Lolohea sent a slick skip pass to left wing Manu Vatuvei who opened up the scoring powering through his opposite Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck. Mason Lino couldn't convert.
From then on the first half was a real arm wrestle, illustrated by Wyong's drive in defence which created a lot of pressure on the Vodafone Warriors.
The Roos kept searching for their first breakthrough and eventually it came as left wing Christopher Centrone sped in and, minutes later, they had a 6-4 lead through a penalty.
After going set for set - with some huge defensive contact - the next opportunity fell to the Vodafone Warriors after a penalty in front of Wyong's posts. Instead of going for two, they went again and found reward when dummy half Sam Cook faked a pass to his right before stepping through and planting the ball over the top in the 37th minute. Lino converted to give the home side a 10-6 lead at the break.
The Roos came out firing in the second half, continuing to bend the line and proving difficult to contain.
Liam Knight and Luke Sharpe combined to free up Centrone on the left wing. He accelerated down the sideline before passing back inside for Latrell Mitchell to score his first try of the match.
Wyong was in soon after again when halfback Mitchell Cornish found fullback Sharpe in support to extend the lead to 16-10.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, the Vodafone Warriors were desperate to score.
Their chance came when Wyong failed to handle a last tackle kick, handing possession in an attacking position back to the Vodafone Warriors. It was a tough set but they were able to pull through with a try when centre Matthew Allwood off loaded over the top for Lino to score. He couldn't convert, though, leaving the Roos just in front 16-14.
The Vodafone Warriors pressed for a go-ahead try without luck. Instead it was Wyong which struck again in the 74th minute when Cornish chimed in to give Mitchell his second try.
There was still enough time to engineer a possible draw but despite battling to the end the Vodafone Warriors couldn't break through again.
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 14 (Manu Vatuvei, Sam Cook, Mason Lino tries; Mason Lino conversion).
Wyong Roos 20 (Latrell Mitchell 2, Chris Centrone, Luke Sharp tries; Mitchell Cornish conversion, penalty).
Halftime: 10-6 Vodafone Warriors.
Vodafone Warriors | Tuimoala Lolohea; Junior Pauga, Matt Allwood, Semisi Fotu, Manu Vatuvei; Mafoa'aeata Hingano, Mason Lino (c); Patrick Sipley, Sam Cook, Albert Vete; Ofa Ogden, Bunty Afoa; Paulos Latu. Interchange: Daniel Palavi, Chris Satae, Toafofoa Sipley, Johnny Vuietiabu.