Sydney, Australia, April 4, 2004 – Rookie second rower Epalahame Lauaki was a two-try hero in the Vodafone Warriors’ first win of the season in today’s fourth-round match against Manly-Warringah at Brookvale Oval.
After making the finals in each of the last three seasons, the Vodafone Warriors were under pressure following consecutive losses to Brisbane, St George Illawarra and Penrith in the first three rounds.
But the 20-year-old Lauaki, playing just his fourth NRL match, lit up with his contribution as he proved a constant threat in possession coming off the bench.
Fullback Brent Webb also snared a double with second rower Ali Lauitiiti the other try-scorer in the Vodafone Warriors’ third consecutive win at Brookvale and their fourth on end over Manly.
After losing at Brookvale on their first visit in 1996, the Warriors won 33-10 at the venue in 1999 and 20-16 in 2003 (from 2000-2002 Manly amalgamated with North Sydney to form the Northern Eagles). The fourth straight win over the Sea Eagles was the 20-12 victory at Ericsson Stadium last season.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 (Paul Stephenson, Anthony Watmough tries; Andrew Walker conversion).
Vodafone Warriors 28 (Epalahame Lauaki 2, Brent Webb 2, Ali Lauitiiti tries; Sione Faumuina 4 conversions).
Sea Eagles | Andrew Walker; Scott Donald, Albert Torrens, Paul Stephenson, Chris Hicks; Jye Mullane, Michael Monaghan; Daniel Heckenberg, Chad Randall, Ian Donnelly; Sam Harris, John Hopoate; Luke Williamson. Interchange: Jason King, Kane Cleal, Anthony Watmough, Kylie Leuluai.
Vodafone Warriors | Brent Webb; Henry Fa’afili, Tony Martin, Clinton Toopi, Justin Murphy; Jerome Ropati; Stacey Jones; Jerry Seuseu, Tevita Latu, Richard Villasanti; Ali Lauitiiti, Awen Guttenbeil; Sione Faumuina. Interchange: Epalahame Lauaki, Matt Jobson, Louis Anderson, Vinnie Anderson.