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Juniors surge to second spot

A stunning 34-point second half assault carried the Vodafone Junior Warriors to a superb 42-22 win over Parramatta in Sunday’s fifth-round S G Ball Cup encounter at Trusts Arena in Waitakere.

After opening the scoring through the first of centre Viliami Vailea’s two tries, the home side conceded 18 unanswered points before stopping the run with an Ali Leiataua try just on halftime.

It would prove to be the launching pad for an irresistible second half showing.

Eight minutes into the spell T J Devery’s try was the catalyst for a run of four tries and 22 points in the space of nine minutes. Suddenly the Vodafone Junior Warriors were 30-18 and flying. Making a huge impact off the bench was giant forward Tony Tafa as the home side flipped a deficit into a third straight win and the fourth in five starts.

There was a brief lull for all of eight minutes before another salvo rounded out the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ scoring to put them 42-18 ahead.

It came in the shape of a double from the competition’s top scorer hooker Taniela Otukolo, who boosted his tally to eight in five games.

With the win the Vodafone Junior Warriors surged to second on the points table, just one behind the Knights.

Next up they’re back on the road to face last year’s premiers the Illawarra Steelers on Sunday.

Match details:

At Trusts Arena, Auckland

Vodafone Junior Warriors 42 (Viliami Vailea 2, Taniela Otukolo 2, Ali Leiataua, T J Devery, Tony Tafa, Josiah Karapani tries; Sione Moala 5 conversions).

Parramatta Eels 22 (Joshua Tuipulotu 2, Tutonu Junior Wright 2 tries; Josh Chappell 3 conversions).

Halftime: 18-8 Vodafone Junior Warriors.

Vodafone Junior Warriors | Ali Leiataua; Daeon Amituanai, Jeremiah Asi, Viliami Vailea, Josiah Karapani; Sebastyan Jack, Sione Moala (c); Lleyton Finau, Otukolo Taniela, Kina Kepu; Carl Lolohea, Zyon Maiu’u; Tamehana Paruru. Interchange: Vaka Sikahele,  Valingi Kepu, Tony Tafa, T J Devery. Coach | Greg Boulous.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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