Winger Moala Graham-Taufa snared a hat-trick to help the One New Zealand Warriors end Canterbury Bankstown’s unbeaten in the New South Wales Cup at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.
The Bulldogs, coming into the match with three straight wins, opened the scoring but never had the lead again as the home side ran in five converted tries to win 30-18 to move to second on the ladder.
After yielding a try to Bulldogs halfback Karl Oloapu just two minutes into the encounter, the Slade Griffin-coached Warriors were back on level terms just five minutes later when Graham-Taufa scored the first of his three tries.
And by the 12th minute they had the lead when prop Zyon Maiu’u powered over from close range and Ronald Volkman converted for a 12-6 advantage.
There the score remained for the score stayed until the break before the home side struck just six minutes into the second term through Graham-Taufa to edge further ahead 18-6.
Having gained the biggest lead of the game the One New Zealand Warriors then invited the Bulldogs back in almost immediately, the margin back to six points with the first of two tries to second rower Kitione Kautoga.
With 30 minutes to play it was the pivotal stage of the encounter, the One New Zealand Warriors reacting superbly when they needed to with tries in the 56th and 60th minutes through Graham-Taufa and opposite winger Setu Tu.
The 30-12 scoreline was trimmed to 30-18 with 16 minutes to go but the One New Zealand Warriors negotiated their way through the final stanza – with some nervous moments – to lock down an important victory.