A much more composed Vodafone Junior Warriors side has emerged with its first win of the season beating Brisbane 36-20 on the back of an outstanding second half display in tonight’s 12th-round NYC match at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Grant Pocklington-coached outfit had finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard over the first three months of the season losing 11 straight matches.
But today, despite being down 6-14 at halftime, the Vodafone Junior Warriors found their best form of the year producing five tries and 30 points in the second term to run away from the Broncos.
The first half was an arm wrestle with the Broncos first to score, an off load allowing hooker Tyson Smoothy to go.
They increased their lead to 8-0 when halfback Julian Christian slipped through the defence on a long break before passing inside to Herbie Farnworth in support who crossed the line in the 16th minute.
In the 30th minute, Brisbane was down to 12 players when Payne Haas was sent to the sin bin. The Vodafone Warriors took advantage with co-captain Chris Sio using footwork and barging over the line to close it up to 6-8.
A defensive gamble on the right edge by the Vodafone Junior Warriors opened up a large gap providing an easy passage to the line for Bronco David Fauid. Successfully converted it increased the visitors’ lead to 14-6 at halftime.
The Vodafone Warriors started the second half impressively.
Halfback Paul Turner found Kelepi Lui who went over the line, Chanel Harris-Tavita cutting the margin to 12-14 with the conversion.
Back-to-back tries followed for dummy half Eiden Ackland and Harris-Tavita who glided through the Broncos defence on a stepping run to score. He converted both to open up a 24-14 lead.
The Broncos hit back with a try when prop Sam Elliot trotted over the line, converted by Staggs to bring the score-line back to 24-20.
But the Vodafone Warriors quickly took the momentum away the Broncos, Paul Turner passing out wide to find Harris-Tavita for the standoff’s second try. He converted to push the lead out to 30-20.
Then in the dying moments the Vodafone Warriors had their sixth try. Melino Fineanganofo could have scored it himself but gifted it to rookie wing Israel Ogden instead, Harris-Tavita supplying his sixth straight conversion and 20 points for the game.
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 36 (Chanel Harris-Tavita 2, Chris Sio, Kelepi Lui, Eiden Ackland, Israel Ogden tries; Chanel Harris-Tavita 6 conversions).
Brisbane Broncos 20 (Tyson Smoothy, Herbie Farnworth, David Fauid, Sam Elliott tries; Kontoni Staggs 2 conversions).
Halftime: 14-6 Broncos.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Lee Turner; Israel Ogden, Lewis Soosemea, Melino Fineanganofo, Gibson Popoalii; Paul Turner, Chanel Harris-Tavita; Kenese Kenese (c), Eiden Ackland, Tayhler Paora; Tyler Slade, Joe Vuna; Chris Sio (c). Interchange: Kelepi Lui, Keanu Laumatia-Paki, Javvier Pitovao, Troy Pulupaki.