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Jersey Flegg Match Report: Close but no joy

A first win of the season just eluded the One New Zealand Warriors when they were edged out 20-16 by Manly Warringah in their sixth-round Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) encounter at Go Media Stadium on Saturday.

Coming into the match after the postponement of last week’s scheduled clash against South Sydney, they dialled into their last outing at home against the Knights two weeks ago.

While they again conceded an early try, they set about grinding their way into the game and were rewarded with another terrific try to centre Sio Kali to lock it up 6-6 at the break.

While lapses plagued them in the early stages of the second half - with the Sea Eagles scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes to bolt to an 18-6 lead - the Warriors then put their gloves up again.

Six minutes later they were back in the hunt with a try to centre Nganaiaiafu Vake to bring the scoreline back to 10-18 with 17 minutes to play.

They stayed in the grind and were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Makaia Tafua surged over, Etuate Fukofuka converting to leave them just two points behind at 16-18.

It was well and truly game on with seven minutes to go but the Warriors couldn’t hatch a winner, conceding a penalty in the final seconds for the Sea Eagles to finish with a four-point winning margin.

While they didn’t find winning joy there was much to be pleased about in a second consecutive fighting performance in which the team showed further improvement in its defence and resilience, even more so from a lineup featuring so many players who have been brought in from the club’s SG Ball Cup (under-17) side.

The second consecutive close loss also saw the Warriors move off the bottom of the ladder with the Silktails dropping behind them after a 14-52 defeat by Penrith.

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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