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Halfback Luke Metcalf made a successful comeback from a long injury layoff in the One New Zealand Warriors’ 14-14 draw with the Bulldogs in Saturday’s 11th-round New South Wales Cup match in Sydney.

Side-lined since February with a hamstring, the 24-year-old made an instant impact as he came through his first 40 minutes unscathed before being replaced as planned at the break.

He needed just eight minutes to impose himself when he hit a hole off a James Gavet pass, shaking off defenders and speeding across for his first try in his first competitive outing for the One New Zealand Warriors. He also converted his try before the Bulldogs responded with two tries to lead 12-6 at halftime.

“It was good to get back out there for 40 minutes. I wished I could have been there for the ending but it felt good to get 40 minutes out of the way,” said Metcalf after the game.

“The hamstring’s feeling good. After 12-13 weeks of rehab you’d want it to be but it felt good running and stepping.”

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 14-6 with a penalty before the One New Zealand Warriors made a late charge inside the final 10 minutes.

In the 71st minute they hit their left side, Maia Sands popping a superb off load for centre Viliami Vailea to explode onto before finding fullback Taine Tuaupiki in support for the team’s second try.

Eiden Ackland converted to leave his side just two points behind and then added a penalty five minutes from time to tie the contest up.

In the final few frantic minutes both sides had opportunities, the Bulldogs the best of them but they missed a field goal from right in front of the posts.

The point for the draw left them third on the ladder.

Match details
Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 14 (Kurtis Morrin, Jeral Skelton tries; Kyle Flanagan 2 conversions, penalty).
One New Zealand Warriors 14 (Luke Metcalf, Taine Tuaupiki tries; Eiden Ackland conversion, penalty; Luke Metcalf conversion).
Halftime: 12-6 Bulldogs.
One New Zealand Warriors | Taine Tuaupiki; Moala Graham-Taufa, Viliami Vailea, Ali Leiataua, Setu Tu; Ben Farr, Luke Metcalf; Zyon Maiu’u, Maia Sands, James Gavet; Kalani Going (c), Nick Halalilo; Demitric Sifakula. Interchange: Eiden Ackland, Isaiah Vagana, Tanner Stowers-Smith, Tahi Baggaley.

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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