The Vodafone Junior Warriors suffered another heartbreaking loss when they were pipped 24-22 late in their 11th-round NYC clash against the highly-ranked St George Illawarra at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton tonight.
Still without a win this year, the Vodafone Junior Warriors had a healthy 22-10 lead midway through the second half but the Dragons scored twice to draw back to 20-22 and then grabbed the winner in the final minutes.
Earlier in contest they had made a significant impact offensively but each time the Vodafone Junior Warriors acrambled to deny them.
Indeed they opened up the scoring with draw and pass football handing right wing Lewis Soosemea the first of his two tries when he ran strongly back against the grain, centre Kane Telea providing the extras.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors were pressing for as second only for a cut-out pass to be intercepted for the score to be locked up 6-6.
Vodafone Junior Warriors standoff Chanel Harris-Tavita was quick to answer back with an impressive one
man play, sidestepping his way through the Dragons defensive line and slicing through to place the ball near the posts. Kane Telea's conversion made it 12-6.
St George Illawarra reacted with halfback Tristan Sailor spotting wing Matheson Johns free for his side's second try to trail 10-12 at the break.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors began the second stanza with plenty of urgency and were rewarded with tries to Soosemea and Erin Clark to go 22-10 ahead.
Midway through the half, the Dragons began to climb back into it, first through Morris with his second try and then Reece Robson to be just 20-22 behind.
In the last dying minutes, Joseph Vuna was sin binned and the Dragons took full advantage with Sailor setting up fullback Steven Masters for the winner. Cue more heartbreak for the Vodafone Junior Warriors.
FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Vodafone Junior Warriors 22 (Lewis Soosemea 2, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Erin Clark tries; Kane Telea 3 conversions).
St George Illawarra Dragons 24 (Dylan Morris 2, Matheson Johns, Reece Robson, Steven Marsters tries; Zac Lomax 2 conversions).
Halftime: 12-10 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Lee Turner; Lewis Soosemea, Melino Fineanganofo, Kane Telea, Elijah Sufia; Paul Turner, Chanel Harris-Tavita; Kenese Kenese (c), Eiden Ackland, Soane Hufanga; Tyler Slade, Joe Vuna; Chris Sio (c). Interchange: Eiden Ackland, Troy Pulupaki, Tayhler Paora, Kelepi Lui.