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In their debut season in the Harold Matthews Cup, the One New Zealand Warriors have today caused a huge boilover stunning Parramatta 30-20 in their week one finals clash at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.

Claiming the sixth and final spot for the under-17 competition’s playoffs, they were rank outsiders to upset the third-ranked Eels who had trounced them 34-6 in the opening round of the regular season in February.

But now, after this exceptional performance, the TJ Ashford-coached side is one win away from icing an impressive year by making the grand final.

They rocked Parramatta with a blistering start, second rower Dezman Laban – younger brother of NRL rookie Jacob – scoring in the opening minute followed by an eighth minute try to centre Jeremiah Lemana.

Both converted by winger Kairus Booth, the 12-0 lead became 18-0 when he converted a second Laban try five minutes from halftime for a commanding 18-0 advantage.

Playing 30-minute halves, the Warriors were just as lethal in the second half with a try to winger Ezekiel Davidson-Faaiuaso in the first minute, Booth again converting for an astonishing 24-0 lead.

The shocked Eels regathered themselves with two tries in two minutes to cut the deficit to 12-24 with 20 minutes to play but the Warriors weren’t done, responding swiftly with Davidson-Faaiuaso’s second try and another Booth conversion to extend to 30-12 with 15 minutes to play.

While Parramatta scored two unconverted tries in the final 10 minutes the One New Zealand Warriors closed out the contest for a famous victory.

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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