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NSW Cup Match Report: Hit hard by Bears

North Sydney proved too strong for a rearranged One New Zealand Warriors side winning 36-18 in Sunday’s second-round New South Wales Cup encounter at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium.

The two teams had come into the contest on the back of round one victories, the Warriors by dint of a 28-24 win over Newtown and the Bears with a 28-4 success against St George Illawarra.

However, North Sydney, beaten in the 2023 New South Wales Cup grand final, dictated terms for most of the day.

The One New Zealand Warriors named a potent side on Tuesday which had again featured seasoned NRL players Jazz Tevaga, Te Maire Martin and Chanel Harris-Tavita.

It didn’t play out that way. All three travelled to Melbourne with the NRL squad where Harris-Tavita was called up to the interchange while Tevaga was 18th man and Martin 19th. Promising young centre Ali Leiataua also made the trip to Melbourne.

That meant some reshuffling for New South Wales Cup coach David Tangata-Toa with Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) playmaker Luke Hanson called in to start in the halves, fullback Ben Farr joining him and Geronimo Doyle moved off the bench to start at fullback. Coming into the centres for Leiataua was 80-game NRL centre Adam Pompey while 19-year-old Eddie Ieremia started in the front row alongside fellow teenaged prop Tanner Stowers-Smith.

The Warriors weren’t able to settle.

While they had a say early on with the first of second rower Jacob Laban’s two tries they were facing a 6-24 deficit at halftime and weren’t able to climb back into the contest in the second half aside from Laban’s second try and one to centre Moala Graham-Taufa.

As Melbourne’s feeder club, the Bears could call on NRL experience through the likes of fullback Sualauvi Faalogo and winger Dean Ieremia plus back rower Shawn Blore and a number of other seasoned performers.

Faalogo and Ieremia both scored doubles as the Bears as did back rower Riley Meyn.

It won’t be any easier for the Warriors next Saturday when they are on the road again taking on an impressive Canberra side which has opened the season with wins over Newcastle and Western Suburbs.

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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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