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Rusty Roosters survive scare against Warriors

Kiwis international Joey Manu helped finally wear the Warriors down with a match-sealing try in an 18-10 win that forced the New Zealand visitors into back-to-back losses on Saturday at Central Coast Stadium.

With two Dally M winners on the park in fullbacks Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (2018) and James Tedesco (2019), you would have thought they would be the heroes with a sizzling run to slice open the defence.

But while both men gave fair accounts of themselves as always, there was nothing scintillating from either of them.

The Warriors, who were outclassed 46-10 by the Sharks at the same venue just a week ago, had far more starch in their defence this time around.

Trent Robinson’s side didn’t grab the lead until the 52nd minute when Kyle Flanagan’s conversion to Luke Keary’s solo try put the premiers ahead 12-10.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Roosters

Then after some punishing runs from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Manu was able to spin through tired Warriors defenders to score with just 12 minutes left on the clock.

Keary’s kicking game had been dangerous all afternoon but it seems the Roosters are a little off-kilter.

Still, they managed to right their ship after last round’s upset loss to the Raiders.

Waerea-Hargreaves and Hetherington go at it

For a side that averages 28 points a game, it was a slow-moving afternoon by the Roosters’ lofty standards.

Certainly they lost co-captain Boyd Cordner on match day with concussion problems, but there was enough firepower still left in the side.

Against the odds, it was the Warriors to register first points on the board with Kodi Nikorima in the thick of it.

Manu does it all himself

His fourth minute-bomb was deflected back his way from the mid-air contest. He shot a pass to his centre Peta Hiku, who found homeward-bound winger Ken Maumalo unmarked.

Maumalo and three others are on their way back to Auckland after this game to reunite with their families after 10 weeks in Australia. But since that was his fifth try in four games, he will be missed.

Then another unexpected set of circumstances unfolded for the Roosters – two players over the line in Sitili Tupouniua and Sio Taukeiaho but both denied tries by being held up and stripped of the ball.

The game was a quarter over and the Roosters were trailing 6-0.  

But two minutes later and Tupouniua made it second time lucky as he picked up the scraps from a Keary bomb.

Scores stayed locked at 6-6 until the dying seconds of the first half when backrower Eliesa Katoa crashed through defenders off a neat little pass from Nikorima to take a 10-6 lead into the break.

It was 20-year-old Katoa’s third try in just his eighth NRL game.

The second half was mostly for the Roosters' highlights reel – two tries from Keary and Manu – but their attack is still far off what we’ve come to expect from the back-to-back premiers.

Due to the reshuffling of the Roosters back row and bench following Cordner’s exit, Poasa Faamausili came into the 17 and was able to play against the team he spent six weeks with and played four NRL games for.

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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