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Warriors fall to first New South Wales Cup defeat of season

North Sydney ended the One New Zealand Warriors’ unbeaten start to the season with a 20-12 victory in today’s third-round New South Wales Cup contest at the Trusts Arena in Waitakere.

The home side was bolstered by the inclusion of experienced NRL forward Josh Curran but it was the Bears who provided the only scoring in a tough first half.

A try to Ben Thomas in the 12th minute was followed by one to Auckland-born second rower Dane Aukafolau close to halftime to give North Sydney a 12-0 lead.

The One New Zealand Warriors bit back with an Eiden Ackland try straight after the break only for Aukafolau to cross in the 47th minute and again four minutes later to give the Bears a healthy 20-6 advantage.

When prop Zyon Maiuu scored in the 65th minute there was some hope for the One New Zealand Warriors but they couldn’t narrow the gap as North Sydney closed it out.

The Bears had a number of familiar faces in centres Junior Pauga and William Fakatoumafi plus prop Phillip Makatoa, who were all in the Warriors’ system at some stage. Pauga provided NRL experience as did loose forward Zach Dockar-Clay; a former Junior Kiwi he played for the Māori All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars in Rotorua in February.

Despite the loss the One New Zealand Warriors are third on the points table.

They’re at home again in the fourth round when they face table-topping Canterbury-Bankstown in the curtain raiser to the One New Zealand Warriors’ first NRL match of the season at Mount Smart Stadium.

Match details
Trusts Arena, Waitakere
One New Zealand Warriors 12 (Eiden Ackland, Zyon Maiuu tries; Ronald Volkman 2 conversions).
North Sydney Bears 20 (Dane Aukafolau 3, Ben Thomas tries; Jesse Marschke 2 conversions).
Halftime: 12-0 North Sydney Bears.
One New Zealand Warriors | Geronimo Doyle; Setu Tu, Ali Leiataua, Rocco Berry, Sanele Aukusitino; Eiden Ackland, Ronald Volkman; Zyon Maiuu, Michael Sio (c), Tahi Baggaley; Kalani Going (vice-captain), Josh Curran; Demitric Sifakula. Interchange: Paul Roache, Moala Graham-Taufa, Nick Halalilo, Patrick Vaivai.

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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