Captain Sione Moala bagged 20 points as the Vodafone Junior Warriors marked their S G Ball Cup debut with a 36-16 win over the Victoria Thunderbolts at Trusts Arena in Waitakere today (Sunday).
The club has switched its focus from the Jersey Flegg Cup (under-20) competition to the New South Wales Rugby League’s flagship under-18 premiership this year.
Halfback Moala was named the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 2019 Jersey Flegg rookie of the year, helped St Paul’s College to victory in Auckland’s College Rugby League grand final and also represented the New Zealand 18s.
Surrounded by an impressive group of the club’s most promising players today he made a major contribution as the Vodafone Junior Warriors announced their arrival in the S G Ball with a convincing 20-point win.
Moala scored his side’s first try in the 10th minute, added a second midway through the second half and also kicked five conversions from six attempts plus a penalty.
The first try of the match in the third minute but responded with Moala’s touchdown and two more through hooker Taniela Otukolo and winger Daeon Amituanai followed by a second from the visitors to hold a 16-10 lead at halftime.
When centre Jeremiah Asi scored early in the second half the home side was 22-10 clear before the Thunderbolts pulled the margin back to 22-16.
Moala’s penalty, his second try and one to fullback Ali Leiataua in the final minutes completed the scoring.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors are away to the Canberra Raiders next weekend.
At Trusts Arena, Waitakere
Vodafone Junior Warriors 36 (Sione Moala 2, Taniela Otukolo, Daeon Amituanai, Jeremiah Asi tries; Sione Moala 5 conversions, penalty).
Victoria Thunderbolts 16 (Sione Finau, Lene Feterika, Sualauvi Faalogo tries; Sualauvi Faalogo 2 conversions).
Halftime: 16-10 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 ALI LEIATAUA
5 DAEON AMITUANAI
3 JEREMIAH ASI
4 TAMIRO ARMSTRONG
20 VILIAMI VAILEA
6 SEBASTYAN JACK
7 SIONE MOALA
10 LLEYTON FINAU
9 TANIELA OTUKOLO
15 VAILINGI KEPU
11 ZYON MAIU’U
12 CARL LOLOHEA
13 TAMEHANA PARURU
8 OTUKINEKINA KEPU
14 VAKA SIKAHELE
16 TONY TAFA
17 CARLOS TARAWHITI