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James Bell. NZ Warriors v Wentworthville, Round 23 of the 2017 ISP Intrust Super Premiership Rugby League season at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 13 August 2017. Copyright photo: Renee McKay /

A solid 26-16 win over Wentworthville on Sunday kept the Vodafone Warriors on track for a top two finish ahead of the Intrust Super Premiership finals.

While they were down 6-10 at halftime, they responded with 20 unanswered points to take a match-winning 26-10 lead into the final minutes before conceding a late try.

The Magpies had opened the scoring in slightly freakish circumstances when a last tackle kick wasn't cleaned up by the Vodafone Warriors, the Magpies snaring the ball and an off load ricocheting off a defender into ex-Kiwi Frank Pritchard's hands for the first try.

The Vodafone Warriors were level at 6-6 after 18 minutes, hooker Manaia Cherrington skirting out of dummy half and serving up a flat ball for prop Daniel Palavi. With a well-executed hit and spin he rolled around to score near the posts to give Junior Pauga an easy conversion.

The Vodafone Warriors had a sustained period in good field position but wanted for execution, missing the chance of taking the lead.

After staying in the wrestle they critically slipped up defensively on their right side to allow Wentworthville to break deep into their territory.

The home side scrambled to secure a kick ahead only to make an error. A scrum feed for the Magpies and soon after they created an opportunity for their left edge again, fullback Honeti Tuha with the try. The conversion failed leaving the visitors 10-6 ahead at halftime.

The Vodafone Warriors stepped up the intensity from the opening moments of the second half, quickly drawing level with a Toaf Sipley try and then hitting the lead for the first time in the 50th minute.

It came as Jazz Tevaga and Sam Cook combined to work a big hole for second rower Ofa Ogden to steam through, Pauga converting for a 16-10 lead.

Front rower Charlie Gubb was handed a saloon passage to the line for a try in the 65th minute before a great scrum move made sure of the result, Pauga making ground down the short side and off loading for fellow Matt Allwood to score.

The result leaves the Vodafone Warriors second on the ladder with two rounds of the regular season to play.



Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Vodafone Warriors 26 (Daniel Palavi, Toafofoa Sipley, Ofahiki Ogden, Charlie Gubb, Matt Allwood tries; Junior Pauga 3 conversions).

Wentworthville Magpies 16 (Frank Pritchard, Honeti Tuha, George Jennings tries; Nathan Davis 2 conversions).

Halftime: 10-6 Magpies.

Vodafone Warriors | Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (c); Semisi Fotu, Matt Allwood, Junior Pauga, Bureta Faraimo; Zac Santo, Sam Cook; Daniel Palavi, Manaia Cherrington, Charlie Gubb; Ligi Soa, Ofahiki Ogden; James Bell. Interchange: Jazz Tevaga, Toafofoa Sipley, Tevin Arona, Abraham Papalii.

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