As first halves go, this was as exceptional as any across the Vodafone Warriors’ 26 seasons in existence. Extraordinary actually.
This week’s Throwback Thursday presented by Mazda dates back to August 11, 2001 with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Ericsson Stadium for another critical clash for the home side in its quest to play finals football for the first time.
In a season which had seen the Vodafone Warriors yoyoing in and out of the top eight they had just edged back into eighth spot the previous week on the back of a phenomenal 48-32 comeback win away to Penrith.
The Sharks, though, came to town in voracious mood. They had been feasting on opponents, shredding most of them apart in a run of seven straight wins which had them running fourth in the competition. In four of those wins they had topped 40 points, their most recent a 49-30 victory over Newcastle. In all they had tallied 255 points in those seven games, an average of 36 a game.
But that would all count for nothing on August 11, 2001. Literally nothing because that’s what Cronulla ended up with facing a Vodafone Warriors side which was as hungry to score points as it was committed to prevent them being conceded.
By halftime the Vodafone Warriors had their fans in raptures after running in five tries, all of them converted, and had denied Cronulla any success to lead 30-0.
That remarkable opening half was followed by a scarcely credible scoreless second 40 minutes.
Talk about two contrasting halves of football.
If coach Daniel Anderson was thrilled with the 30-0 scoreline at the break he was even more delighted with the defence in the second half.
August 11, 2001
Ericsson Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 30 (David Myles, Richard Villasanti, Wairangi Koopu, Logan Swann, Clinton Toopi tries; Ivan Cleary 5 conversions).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0.
Halftime: 30-0 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Paul Simpkins.
Vodafone Warriors | Ivan Cleary; Henry Fa’afili, Wairangi Koopu, Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli; David Myles, Stacey Jones (c); Jerry Seuseu, Monty Betham, Ali Lauitiiti; Logan Swann, Awen Guttenbeil; Kevin Campion (c). Interchange: Mark Tookey, Nathan Wood, Richard Villasanti, Cliff Beverley.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks | Damien Mostyn; Mat Rogers, Paul Mellor, Chris McKenna, Colin Best; Jason Ferris, Preston Campbell; Jason Stevens (c), Dean Treister, Martin Lang; Chris Beattie, Sean Ryan; Nick Graham. Interchange: Paul McNicholas, Andrew Pierce, Luke Stuart, Brent Grose.