The Vodafone Warriors’ ISP team suffered a heart-breaking 22-20 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at the Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.
After leading for a large portion of the match, the visitors saw victory snatched from their grasp in the final two minutes after Joshua Cleeland crossed for his second try of the game which was then converted by Reimis Smith.
Early on, it was the Bulldogs who opened up the scoring through Tyrone Phillips.
Both sides then battled hard before Isaiah Papali’i responded in the best way possible with his side’s first four-pointer.
Minutes later, soft goal line defence provided an opportunity for Toafofoa Sipley, who was able to easily barge through for a try and give the Vodafone Warriors the lead for the first time.
A 42-metre downfield break from Semisi Fotu then paved the way for the Vodafone Warriors to score again, this time the points coming from James Bell just before half time.
Both sides entered the second half firing with the Vodafone Warriors holding on to a 16-6 lead.
Bulldogs standoff Cleeland gave the hosts the start they desperately needed after dummying the ball before exploding off his right foot to slice through for a try.
Zac Santo then got on the scoreboard for the Vodafone Warriors only for Smith to respond for the Bulldogs not long after.
With a four-point lead, the Vodafone Warriors looked to have victory in the bag only for Cleeland and the Bulldogs to pull off a late upset.
Meanwhile, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were unable to make it three wins in a row after falling 52-12 to the Manly Sea Eagles in Sydney.
In a performance they’ll be wanting to put behind them quickly, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were caught off guard by their impressive hosts.
In a one-sided contest they found themselves down 52-0 before a spirited fightback saw them run in two late consolation tries.
ISP @ Belmore Sports Ground
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 22 (J Cleeland 2, T Phillips, R Smith tries; R Martin 3 goals)
Vodafone Warriors 20 (I Papalii, T Sipley, J Bell, Z Santo tries; J Pauga 2 goals)
NYC @ Lottoland, Manly
Junior Sea Eagles 52
Vodafone Junior Warriors 12