A brave second half comeback fell just short for the Vodafone Junior Warriors when they went down 28-30 to competition leaders the Sydney Roosters in their 22nd-round Jersey Flegg Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.
The Roosters were 20-4 ahead at halftime but the home side roared back into the contest in the opening stages of the second spell.
With tries to Sione Moala, Selestino Ravutaumada (his second of the day) and Toni Tupouniua, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were just 22-24 down with 20 minutes still to play.
The Roosters hit back with their sixth try of the day to stretch out again to 30-22 but the Vodafone Junior Warriors weren’t done with.
In the 60th minute standoff Casey Smith scored and Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard converted to bring the score back to 28-30 going into the last 10 minutes.
However, the Roosters negotiated the final minutes to hold on.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 28 (Selestino Ravutaumada 2, Sione Moala, Toni Tupouniua, Casey Smith tries; Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard 4 conversions).
Sydney Roosters 30 (Bayleigh Bentley-Hape 2, Jake Hazard, Ethan O'Neill, Kobe Rugless, McKenzie Baker tries; Ethan O’Neill 3 conversions).
Halftime: 20-4 Roosters.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard; Selestino Ravutaumada, Raymon Vaega, Caleb Pese, Harley Maynard; Casey Smith, Sione Moala; Junior Pua, Taniela Otukolo, Wesley Veikoso; Brody Tamarua (c), Eliesa Katoa; Isaiah Vagana. Interchange: Toni Tupouniua, Jyris Glamuzina, Michael Lemafa, Feao Tongia.