For the second time this season, the Vodafone Warriors have settled for an away draw after finishing level 26-26 with the Penrith Panthers in a thrilling 10th-round Intrust Super Premiership contest at Pepper Stadium today.
The Ricky Henry-coached side had a 30-30 draw with the Mounties in round seven and had to come back from a precarious position today to secure an important competition point.
A try close to halftime and another immediately after the break had the fifth-placed Panthers out to an imposing 22-6 lead.
There was no panic from the Vodafone Warriors, though. They regrouped, bit back into the battle and soon enough they had a strong foothold in the encounter.
It came courtesy of a wrecking ball in big interchange forward Toafofoa Sipley, who powered over for two tries in the space of eight minutes. With an on-target Mason Lino converting both, the Vodafone Warriors had cut the 16-point deficit to just four at 18-22 with 25 minutes to play.
By the 64th minute they were on level terms, Lino and Sam Cook combining on the left to put centre Semisi Fotu over wide out. The heat was all on Lino to put his side in front and he obliged, nailing a superb conversion to give the Vodafone Warriors a 24-22 advantage.
It didn't last long, though. Ball control let the Vodafone Warriors down presenting an opportunity for Penrith to go ahead again through standoff Tyrone May for a 26-24 lead.
When the Vodafone Warriors were awarded a penalty 30 metres out from the posts in the 77th minute there was no hesitation from Lino. It was always going to be a shot at goal, which he calmly guided over for a 26-26 scoreline.
The last stages were frantic, another error opening up the chance for the Panthers to snare a field goal for victory but the Vodafone Warriors put the heat on to shut it down.
Pepper Stadium, Penrith
Penrith Panthers 26 (Samisoni Langi, Te Maire Martin, Mitch Rein, Dylan Edwards, Tyrone May tries; Dylan Edwards 4 conversions)
Vodafone Warriors 26 (Toafofoa Sipley 2, Junior Pauga, Semisi Fotu tries; Mason Lino 4 conversions, penalty).
Halftime: 16-6 Vodafone Warriors.
Vodafone Warriors | Matt Allwood; Junior Pauga, Paulos Latu, Semisi Fotu, Ken Maumalo; Tuimoala Lolohea, Mason Lino (c); Charlie Gubb, Sam Cook, Albert Vete; Ofa Ogden, Daniel Palavi; James Bell. Interchange: Reece Charlie, Chris Satae, Toafofoa Sipley, King Vuniyayawa.