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Fullback Taine Tuaupiki kicked a conversion after the final siren to give the One New Zealand Warriors a dramatic 26-24 win over St George Illawarra in today’s seventh-round New South Wales Cup contest at Collegians Sporting Complex in Wollongong.

The Dragons had sneaked into the lead – 24-20 – for the first time in the match with a Savelio Tamale try four minutes from fulltime but the Warriors weren’t to be denied.

Inside the last minute they organised a try for winger Setu Tu to lock it up 24-24 with all the pressure on Tuaupiki to seal victory.

He didn’t disappoint, coolly slotting the goal for the Warriors’ third win of the season.

The victory rounded out a brilliant day for the club’s pathways teams after the Harold Matthews Cup side had stunned favourite Canterbury Bankstown 12-10 to make next week’s under-17 grand final and the Jersey Flegg Cup under-21 team headed off the Dragons 28-22 for its first win of the season.

The New South Wales Cup victory was built on a fast start which delivered tries to second rower Maia Sands, Tuaupiki and hooker Jaydee Aloa – all converted by Tuaupiki – for an 18-0 lead inside 24 minutes.

The Dragons snared a try before the break and two more in the third quarter to close to 14-18 with 25 minutes to play before the Warriors went out to 20-14 when they opted for a penalty 12 minutes from time. It would be critical.

In the space of three minutes the Dragons scored twice but could convert only one of the tries for a 24-20 lead before the two Tus - Tu and Tuaupiki - combined to seal victory.

Tuaupiki’s goal kicking was the difference.

The Warriors were outscored five tries to four but Tuaupiki converted all four as well as adding a goal for a total of 14 points while St George Illawarra’s Jesse Marschke succeeded with just two conversions.

The Warriors face top side Penrith at North Harbour Stadium next Saturday.


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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