With their third straight win today the One New Zealand Warriors have retained second spot on the New South Wales Cup ladder midway through the 24th round of the regular season.
When Setu Tu scored two tries in the opening minutes of the second half the Warriors were well-placed to secure a big victory but they failed to produce another four pointer, adding only a penalty in the final seconds for a solid rather than spectacular 26-16 win.
Tu, originally named on the wing, was switched to fullback while Patrick Moimoi was brought into the centres and NRL veteran Bunty Afoa started at prop. That gave the side an all-NRL front row with Freddy Lussick at hooker and Tom Ale the other prop.
The contest couldn’t have started any better for the Slade Griffin-coached side with Moimoi over for a try in just the third minute.
For a long period the score-line remained 4-0, the Magpies throwing plenty at the Warriors but finding no way through their staunch goal-line defence.
Having soaked up the defensive pressure, the Warriors countered with tries to teenaged second rower Leka Halasima and NRL centre Viliami Vailea in the 28th and 34th minutes. Halasima again showed his aerial skills, launching skywards to snaffle a mid-range Ronald Volkman bomb.
At 16-0 the One New Zealand Warriors had a great platform to launch only to concede a try just before halftime.
Tu’s double stretched the lead to 24-4 after 50 minutes but then the scoring stalled as the Warriors faltered with a number of errors.
While the Magpies came back to 10-24 with 17 minutes to play and then 16-24 after 73 minutes the Warriors held their nerve, Eiden Ackland kicking a penalty in the final seconds for a 10-point triumph.
It was the team’s 13th win of the season and the fifth in its last six starts to move to 31 points with two rounds to go in the regular season.
FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Western Suburbs Magpies 16 (Josh Feledy, Aitasi James, Tommy Talau tries; Triston Reilly 2 conversions).
One New Zealand Warriors 26 (Setu Tu 2, Patrick Moimoi, Leka Halasima, Viliami Vailea tries; Eiden Ackland conversion, penalty; Ronald Volkman conversion).
Halftime: 16-4 One New Zealand Warriors.
One New Zealand Warriors | Setu Tu; Moala Graham-Taufa, Viliami Vailea, Patrick Moimoi, Edward Kosi; Eiden Ackland, Ronald Volkman; Bunty Afoa, Freddy Lussick, Tom Ale; Leka Halasima, Kalani Going (c); Demitric Sifakula. Interchange: Paul Roache, Michael Sio, Jacob Laban, Zyon Maiu’u.