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Jersey Flegg Match Report: Encouraging display

After three heavy defeats in the opening three rounds, the One New Zealand Warriors extracted enormous encouragement from their 8-18 loss to top four side Newcastle in yesterday’s fourth-round Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) encounter at Go Media Stadium.

Returning to the competition for the first time since 2019, the Warriors were expected to face challenges as the club launched its long-term plan to create a multi-layered pathways programme featuring teams in the New South Wales Rugby League’s under-17, under-19 and under-21 competitions.

So it has proved.

Coming up against clubs with well-established pathways systems, the Warriors fell to big defeats by Cronulla Sutherland, Melbourne and Canberra but showed real grit fighting their way back against the Knights.

After opening the scoring with a Sio Kali in the 16th minute they went set for set before going to halftime locked up 4-4.

Early in the second half a Sio Kali try had then 8-4 ahead but a hot 10-minute period ultimately decided the result as the Knights scored three tries to stretch to an 18-8 lead.

The Warriors tightened up to resist any further damage to the scoreboard and kept pushing to the end in search of another try.

After taking some big hits in the first three weeks, the performance against the Knights offered promising signs, all the more so because a number of players from this year’s SG Ball Cup (under-19) squad were brought into the side for the first time.

Motu Pasikala was at fullback, Kali in the centres, Rodney Tuipulotu-Vea in the front row and Kayliss Fatialofa in the second row with another back rower Alvin Chong Nee included on the interchange.

The One New Zealand Warriors face the Rabbitohs in Sydney next Saturday.  

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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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