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The Warriors have made it three wins from three games in New Zealand this year with a 22-14 win over the Cowboys on Saturday.

Playing in front of a passionate Mt Smart Stadium crowd the Warriors dug deep in defence to keep the Cowboys at bay despite having to make 80 more tackles.

It took the Warriors just four minutes to get the ball rolling when Addin Fonua-Blake powered over from close range after an Adam Pompey intercept had put the home side on the attack.

The Cowboys hit back in the 19th minute after mounting plenty of pressure on the back of Shaun Johnson putting a a short dropout out on the full and a string of six-again calls.

In his first game back from a knee injury, Taulagi finished off some slick inside work from centre Peta Hiku, who scooped up a bouncing ball and put it on a platter for the Maroons flyer to grab his second try of the season.

AFB under the sticks

The Warriors extended their lead on the half hour mark when Marcelo Montoya surged into the back field and got a great offload away for Edward Kosi to score.

Taulagi looked to have made it a double in the 33rd minute but some desperation defence from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad forced him into touch.

The Warriors fullback was penalised for the tackle and the Cowboys earned a line dropout when Scott Drinkwater grubbered into the in-goal and Watene-Zelezniak had to knock the ball dead.

Cotter bursts through

With two minutes to play in the half the Cowboys hit back through Maroons star Reuben Cotter when he brushed through some flimsy Warriors defence to make it 10-8 at the break.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half was all the Cowboys as they peppered the line but the Warriors showed great resilience to defend their line and went the length of the field in one set to score through Josh Curran off a Johnson short ball.

A brilliant Cowboys try scored by Val Holmes off a Drinkwater grubber levelled the scores at 14-14 to set up a grandstand finish with 22 minutes to play.

Two minutes later Kyle Feldt looked to have snatched the lead for the Cowboys when he dived into the corner but Peta Hiku was ruled offside in the kick chase and the Warriors were off the hook.

In a see-sawing contest the Warriors hit the front when Johnson put in a grubber which was blocked by Nanai, the ball rebounding back to the veteran No.7 who found Dylan Walker to cross for his first try of the season. Johnson converted to make it 20-14.

A penalty against Drinkwater for knocking Kosi over off the ball handed Johnson the chance to make it an eight-point lead but he missed the kick.

Drinkwater then went for a short dropout and kicked out on the full, giving Johnson a shot from in front to make it 22-14 to the Warriors and from there they hung on for their fifth win of the season.

Match snapshot

  • The Warriors made six errors in the first half and were forced to make 177 tackles compared to 115 by the Cowboys.
  • Reuben Cotter was introduced off the Cowboys' bench in the 25th minute and had immediate impact with eight runs for 74 metres and a try. He finished the game with 148 run metres.
  • Jazz Tevaga and Josh Curran racked up 85 tackles between them for the Warriors.
  • Shaun Johnson scored six points to take his career tally at Mt Smart Stadium to 504 points.
  • The Warriors had 40 tackle breaks to the Cowboys' 17.

SJ sends Curran over

  • Murray Taulagi marked his return from injury with three line breaks and 188 metres from 16 runs.
  • Dylan Walker's second-half try was the the 66th of his 193-game career.
  • The Warriors have won four of their past five games in New Zealand.
  • The Cowboys were playing in New Zealand for the first time since Round 6, 2019.
  • Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad stood tall for the Warriors with 180 run metres and five tackle breaks.

Taulagi in the corner

Play of the Game

Warriors winger Edward Kosi made it five tries in seven games this season when he finished off brilliant lead-up work by Marcelo Montoya, who left Cowboys Jeremiah Nanai and Scott Drinkwater in his wake on a 35-metre charge before offloading to his winger. 

Kosi scores a screamer

What They Said

“Disappointed with the result. Thought it was a really good contest, both sides were pretty desperate at different moments, in the end they just defended their line better than we did. Thought we had plenty of opportunities, asked some really good questions… getting close but close isn’t good enough.” – Cowboys coach Todd Payten

Cowboys: Round 7

"It was a hard watch for 80 minutes, that's for sure, but you walk away really proud. I just come away feeling like it's not easy to win in the NRL ever. If you start taking it for granted then you start being negative, and now is not the moment to do that, now is the moment to celebrate." – Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 7

What's Next

The Warriors travel to Melbourne in Round 8 for their traditional Anzac Day clash with the Storm and could welcome back Wayde Egan and Marata Niukore.

The Cowboys are at home to the Knights on Saturday with experienced prop Jordan McLean a chance to return from a hamstring injury.

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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