We’ve gone back 20 years to highlight one of the Vodafone Warriors’ most lethal combinations in today’s edition of Throwback Thursday presented by Mazda.
It’s from the eighth-round encounter with the Sydney Roosters at Ericsson Stadium, as it was then, on March 26, 2000.
It was a special day as Stacey Jones made his long-awaited comeback after missing the opening seven rounds of the season as he recovered from his broken left arm suffered in the Kiwis’ one-off Test against Tonga six months earlier.
Coming off just one win and a draw in the first seven matches of the season, the Vodafone Warriors were desperate to have their best player back. And, wearing a protective guard on his injured arm, Jones had a major influence on the outcome of the contest as the Vodafone Warriors held on for a 26-22 victory.
The moment his teammates, coaching staff and fans were waiting for came in the 16th minute of the match when the play maker extraordinaire engaged the line, serving up a delightful short ball to send Ali Lauitiiti on a 30-metre run to the line for a stunning try.
The champion halfback was at it again in the second half, breaching the Roosters’ defence close to their line and off-loading to prop Terry Hermansson, who juggled the ball and held on to score.
And finally it was Jones’ sharp thinking with a quick tap from a penalty which delivered the match-winner for Cliff Beverley.
March 26, 2000
At Ericsson Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 26 (Ali Lauitiiti, Logan Swann, Terry Hermansson, Cliff Beverley tries; John Simon 4 conversions, penalty).
Sydney Roosters 22 (Craig Fitzgibbon, Ian Rubin, Luke Phillips, Anthony Minichiello tries; Luke Phillips 2 conversions; Craig Fitzgibbon penalty).
Halftime: 18-14 Roosters.
Vodafone Warriors | Cliff Beverley; Shontayne Hape, David Myles, Nigel Vagana, Lee Oudenryn; John Simon, Stacey Jones; Joe Vagana, Robert Mears, Terry Hermansson; Logan Swann, Ali Lauitiiti; Jason Death. Interchange: Monty Betham, Henry Fa’afili, Tony Tuimavave, Jerry Seuseu.
Sydney Roosters | Luke Phillips; Richie Barnett, Shannon Hegarty, Matt Sing, Anthony Minichiello; Brad Fittler, Adrian Lam; Ian Rubin, Simon Bonetti, Nelson Lomi; Bryan Fletcher, Craig Fitzgibbon; Shane Rigon. Interchange: Luke Ricketson, David Solomona, Craig Wing, Dallas Hood.