Two tries in the closing minutes secured a thrilling 34-24 win – and a third straight victory – for the One New Zealand Warriors in their fourth-round SG Ball clash against St George Illawarra at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium on Sunday.
After being ahead just 12-10 at halftime, the home side sparked up in the opening minutes of the second spell with converted tries from centres Patrick Moimoi and Siale Faeamani taking them 24-10 clear in the club's first home match of the season.
But the Dragons belied their winless start to the season by responding with three tries in the space of 10 minutes to level the contest at 24-24 entering the final 10 minutes.
Facing a challenge to make it three from three for the season, the One New Zealand Warriors found another gear, lifting for fullback Ratu Naborisi to score his second try of the match, hooker Etuate Fukofuka converting to put the locals 30-24 ahead.
Then in the final minute winger Raphael Sio sealed success with an unconverted try.
While Sio's try wasn't converted, goal-kicking was a key factor in the victory with the One New Zealand Warriors kicking five of their six goals while the Dragons managed just two from five.
The win leaves the One New Zealand Warriors fifth on the ladder with six points with a game in hand.
They’re one of four unbeaten sides so far but face their stiffest test next weekend when they take on fourth-placed Newcastle.
Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe
One New Zealand Warriors 34 (Ratu Saimone Naborisi 2, Sio Kali, Rapheal Sio, Sialetili Faeamani, Patrick Moimoi tries; Etuate Fukofuka 3 conversions; Sefanaia Cowley-Lupo 2 conversions).
St George Illawarra Dragons 24 (Nicholas Tsougranis, Joven Gyemore, Shadi Hammoud, Nicholas Quinn, Jonty Perestrelo tries; Shadi Hammoud 2 conversions).
Halftime: 12-10 One New Zealand Warriors.
One New Zealand Warriors | Ratu Saimone Naborisi; Raphael Sio, Patrick Moimoi, Siale Faeamani, Sio Kali; William Piliu, Sefanaia Cowley-Lupo; Tanner Stowers-Smith (c), Etuate Fukofuka, Harry Durbin; Jacob Laban, Eddie Ieremia; Leka Halasima Tuakalu-Tavalu. Interchange: Makaia Tafua, Ben Peni, Presley Seumanu Tigafua, Taimana Whakatau.