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Hiku the hero as Warriors wear down Wests Tigers

A double to Peta Hiku and match-winning try to Tohu Harris has guided the Warriors to a 26-20 upset win over the Wests Tigers at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday night.

The Warriors trailed by six points at half-time but two pieces of brilliance from Hiku on the left edge pushed the visitors ahead 20-14 after an hour.

Another try to Tohu Harris sealed the result for Todd Payten's men four minutes later, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process after a difficult month that included the departures of David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo and Agnatius Paasi.

Parramatta winger George Jennings deputised on the left edge in place of Maumalo and didn't look out of place, while Eels teammate Daniel Alvaro and Penrith loan prop Jack Hetherington also provided some much-needed power in the middle.

For the Wests Tigers, it was another case of letting slip a game they were expected to win.

Two tries in seven minutes gave the Tigers an 8-0 lead early but that advantage quickly evaporated as the Warriors clawed their way back to level the scores.

Luciano Leilua continued his strong personal form to lay on a late pass for Moses Mbye to open the scoring in the fifth minute. 

In-form Tigers winger David Nofoaluma then danced down the touchline on his way over to an 11th try of the season in the 13th minute.

But for all the Wests Tigers' dominance early, two missed conversion attempts from close range kept the Warriors within range.

Hiku gets the Warriors into the lead with some magic

A nippy Karl Lawton took advantage of a fast play-the-ball to carry three defenders over the line, before Wests Tigers veteran Benji Marshall was ruled to have stripped the ball from Jazz Tevaga's grasp for the visitors to level through a penalty goal.

The Warriors continued to enjoy the territory but momentum swung back in the shadows of half-time with Marshall swooping on a broken defensive line for Sam McIntyre to go over untouched.

Experienced playmaker Blake Green kicked the out on the full in the first set back after the break but the Warriors refused to roll over.

Another determined effort – this time by Hiku – did enough to get the scoreboard back to even as he planted the ball down despite four defenders around him.

Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck did his best to inspire his side to earn back-to-back repeat sets and they were soon rewarded with Hiku bamboozling Nofoaluma with a dummy before keeping himself inside the touch line to plant the ball down.

Nofoaluma dances down the sideline

Just four minutes later they were in again after Tigers winger Tommy Talau spilt a bomb and Adam Pompey collected the scraps before finding Harris to score.

Talau made amends in the 74th minute when he crossed off a superb Benji Marshall pass.

Mbye’s sideline conversion gave the Tigers some hope at 26-20 but the grandstand finish failed to eventuate when Chris Lawrence passed the ball over the sideline while trying to find Nofoaluma.

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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