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Last week it was Mark Tookey coming off the back fence, this week it’s another cult hero Iafeta (Feka) Paleaaesina with a turbo-charged carry creating an exceptional length-of-the-field try in our latest edition of Thursday Throwback presented by Mazda.

The fearless Feka’s breath-taking rhino-like run came in the middle of a remarkable comeback that would ultimately bring the Vodafone Warriors a 31-30 golden point win over South Sydney at the Sydney Football Stadium in 2003.

They found themselves 6-24 behind early in the second half when the Vodafone Warriors launched an extraordinary recovery.

Champion halfback Stacey Jones ignited it with the first of four converted tries in just 12 minutes which propelled his team into a 30-24 lead.

The third of them had Paleaaesina all over it as he busted through two tackles, taking the ball all the way to halfway before passing to Clinton Toopi – also the finisher in last week’s TBT special – to scamper 50 metres.

The Rabbitohs stopped the bleeding to level up at 30-30 with a late converted try before Jones slammed over a terrific field goal for the win.

  • Last week’s Tookey special generated an epic reaction. By early this afternoon (Thursday) the Facebook post of the Tookey-inspired Toopi try against the Cowboys in 2002 boasted a reach of 9.3 million and more than 4.3 million views. Astronomical numbers.

June 29, 2003

Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 (Nathan Merritt, Shane Rigon, David Fa’alogo, Paul Stringer, Justin Smith tries; Justin Smith 3 conversions, penalty; Owen Craigie conversion).

Vodafone Warriors 31 (Motu Tony, Stacey Jones, Francis Meli, Clinton Toopi, Brent Webb tries; Stacey Jones 5 conversions, field goal).

Halftime: 18-6 South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Referee: Steve Lyons.

Crowd 9109.


Vodafone Warriors | Brent Webb; Henry Fa’afili, John Carlaw, Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli; Motu Tony, Stacey Jones; Mark Tookey, Monty Betham (c), Richard Villasanti; Awen Guttenbeil, Sione Faumuina; Logan Swann. Interchange: Iafeta Paleaaesina, Karl Temata, Lance Hohaia, Vinnie Anderson.

South Sydney Rabbitohs | Brad Watts; Nathan Merritt, Shane Rigon, David Fa’alogo, Wise Kativerata; Owen Craigie (c), Shane Walker; Paul Stringer, Jason Death, Andrew Hart; Justin Smith, Luke Stuart; Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Mark Minichiello, Frank Puletua, Duncan MacGillivray, Jamie Fitzgerald.

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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