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The One New Zealand Warriors face a sudden-death play-off next week after being held out 26-12 by South Sydney in Saturday’s New South Wales Cup week one final at North Sydney Oval.

The Warriors went into the contest with a line-up showing multiple changes with several regulars on duty with the NRL side in Brisbane.

The disruption caused wasn’t evident at all from the kick-off as the Warriors went at the Rabbitohs with confidence, prop Zyon Maiu’u busting the line and making a long break before finding fellow middle forward Tanner Stowers-Smith in support for a magnificent try.

South Sydney evened it up in a tight first half, the teams going to halftime all square at 6-6.

A pivotal moment in the opening stages of the second half would prove costly for the One New Zealand Warriors. Winger Moala Graham-Taufa expertly snaffled an attacking bomb, broke free and seemed destined to score only to be hauled down just short of the line.

It could have made all the difference. Instead the Rabbitohs struck twice in the 45th and 51st minutes to secure a telling 18-6 lead and stretched it to 20-6 with a penalty.

The gallant One New Zealand Warriors weren’t going away. They stuck with Souths doggedly and were rewarded when prop James Gavet powered across to be just eight points behind with 13 minutes to play.

However, in the 76th minute the Rabbitohs put the match out of reach when a Taane Milne break was finished off by Jacob Gagai and converted for a final score of 26-12.

The One New Zealand Warriors will be back in Sydney next Saturday when they’ll face the Canberra Raiders, who eliminated the Sea Eagles 24-22 in the fourth v fifth play-off today. South Sydney will take on minor premier North Sydney with both matches being played at Leichhardt Oval.

Match details
North Sydney Oval, Sydney
South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 (Dion Teaupa, Brock Gray, Matt French, Jacob Gagai tries; Dean Hawkins 4 conversions, penalty).
One New Zealand Warriors 12 (Tanner Stowers-Smith, James Gavet tries; Eiden Ackland 2 conversions).
Halftime: 6-6.
One New Zealand Warriors | Setu Tu; Moala Graham-Taufa, Patrick Moimoi, Brayden Wiliame, Edward Kosi; Ben Farr, Eiden Ackland; Zyon Maiu’u, Michael Sio (c), James Gavet; Maia Sands, Eddie Ieremia; Tanner Stowers. Interchange: Isaiah Vagana, Presley Seumanu-Tigafua, Jacob Auloa, Patrick Vaivai.

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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