A last-minute Harley Maynard try earned the Vodafone Junior Warriors a 12-12 draw with the Victoria Thunderbolts in today’s 13th-round Jersey Flegg Cup encounter at Mount Smart Stadium.
With the visitors leading 12-8, fullback William Fakatoumafi jumped out of dummy half on the last tackle, opening up the short side defence with a show and go and breaking downfield on a long break which left wing Maynard finished off crossing wide out.
Faced with a challenging, blustery wind, Sione Moala couldn’t add the conversion to leave his side with its second draw of the season. The point lifted the Vodafone Junior Warriors to 10 points and a hold on eighth spot for now; the draw also means they’re yet to win at home this season.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors battled throughout against an enthusiastic Thunderbolts side which opened the scoring in the opening minutes through fullback Chase Aporo.
A try to standoff Paul Turner converted by Moala gave the Vodafone Junior Warriors a 6-4 lead briefly before the visitors soon struck with a second unconverted Aporo try to lead 8-6.
Right on halftime a Moala penalty locked it up at 8-8.
Early in the second spell centre Antonio Sanele provided a third unconverted try for the Thunderbolts leaving the Vodafone Junior Warriors the challenge of finding their way back into the contest once again.
They didn’t want for opportunities but couldn’t breach Victoria’s goal-line defence until what proved to be the final play of the match.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 12 (Paul Turner, Harley Maynard tries; Sione Moala conversion, penalty).
Victoria Thunderbolts 12 (Chase Aporo 2, Antonio Sanele tries).
Vodafone Junior Warriors | William Fakatoumafi; Selestino Ravutaumada, Raymon Vaega, Kayal Iro, Harley Maynard; Paul Turner, Sione Moala; Isaiah Vagana, Richard To’ai, Michael Lemafa; Eliesa Katoa, Tom Ale; Brody Tamarua. Interchange: Casey Smith, Jyris Glamuzina, Wesley Veikoso, Tony Tupouniua.