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Finals football has become a reality for the One New Zealand Warriors in their first year in the Harold Matthews Cup (under-17) competition after they swamped St George Illawarra 46-10 in their must-win last regular season clash at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium today.

With sixth-placed Manly Warringah being held to a 16-16 draw by the Central Coast Roosters yesterday, the Warriors had been left with a win-and-you’re-in scenario if they were to seize sixth place and a spot in the finals starting next week.

While they were coming off a heavy 10-40 loss to Cronulla Sutherland last weekend, they feasted on the opportunity they’d been handed by the Sea Eagles.

There were signs of nerves early on as they allowed the Dragons to score the first two tries of the match but, attacking with panache, the Warriors then scored four  tries on end through standoff Tyson Hansen, winger Ezekiel Davidson-Faaiuaso and fellow props Hudsyn Frost and Gordon Afoa to take a healthy 24-10 lead into the break.

They were ruthless in the second half, keeping the Dragons scoreless while adding four more tries through interchange half Boston Krone, second rower Dezman Laban, fullback Joseph Ratcliffe and winger Kairus Booth. Booth converted all but one of the eight tries for a personal haul of 18 points.

The Warriors’ fifth win in their eight matches lifted them to 12 points, level with the Sydney Roosters but sixth on points for and against.

That lines them up for a week one finals clash with the third-ranked Parramatta next weekend.

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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