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It will go down as one of the most miraculous victories in the club's 28-year history, and even for Andrew Webster who won two Grand Finals as an assistant with the Panthers, it was “one of the best wins I’ve ever been a part of.”

The Warriors' remarkable 32-30 victory over the Sharks, after trailing 20-0 just 18 minutes into the game, was their second biggest comeback win of all time and just the second time they have won a game after trailing 20-0.

Only a 34-31 win over the Raiders in 2021, in which they reversed a 21-point deficit, trumped it in terms of comebacks, while a 30-26 victory over the Knights in 2005 was the only other time they tasted victory after leaking 20 unanswered points to start a match. 

Following the elation of watching Shaun Johnson land the go-ahead penalty in the final minute – and the temporary terror of Nicho Hynes' missed penalty shot seconds later – Webster heaped praise on his players and their refusal to know when they're beaten. 

"The boys’ attitude and never giving up is just something different, it’s crazy how good it is," Webster said. 

"They just never gave up.

"We’re a different club [than last year]. I know everyone keeps talking about [the past], and it’s fair enough I suppose because everyone is thinking we’ll fall over soon, and after 15 minutes they probably thought today was the day, but the boys had different ideas."

Match Highlights: Sharks v Warriors

Despite the horror start and facing a 26-12 deficit at the break, Webster said the half-time chat was calm from all involved, and he left the changing rooms knowing something special was a real possibility. 

"I just felt like we left the sheds with a bit of belief, and then the rest is history," he said. 

"Nobody is going to write an article this week that we went in and ripped the doors off the sheds or anything like that. That wasn’t going to work.

"We just went around the room like we normally did, it was exactly the same half-time as normal, barring probably what we spoke about.

"We just spoke about details and what we had to fix.

Right at the end we spoke about, 'do we believe? Every time we’ve gone down there we’ve scored, every time we hang onto the ball we build pressure, every time we defend a set we look good, if you do that, boys, we’re honestly a big chance here'.

Andrew Webster

In a cruel twist for Sharks fans, Johnson, who kicked the winning penalty from 35 metres out amid driving rain at PointsBet Stadium, said he leaned on work done during his three-season stint with Cronulla to help ease his nerves ahead of the match-winning play. 

"This is exactly what I was thinking with the kick... when we used to do pre-season here, Bomber (John Morris) would make me kick goals at the end of a training session and if I got it the boys would be done for the day," Johnson told Fox Sports. 

Johnson chats after crazy Warriors comeback

"He'd make me kick them from the sideline and all the boys would be watching me.

"To get one over in the dying minutes... what a feeling. It's up there [with one of the best wins], everyone that's watching at home, they can see a difference in us." 

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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