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Injury-riddled Warriors down Dolphins

The Warriors once again defied injuries to several key stars to down the Dolphins 24-20 in Auckland on Sunday.

With 10 of their regular first-graders watching from the sideline, fill-in halfback Te Maire Martin steered his side from behind to steal an emphatic victory in front of a packed out Go Media Stadium.

An error from Edward Kosi gave the Warriors early field position and the Dolphins capitalised in just the fourth minute with Kodi Nikorima sending a sweet pass over for Jamayne Isaako to dive over in the right corner for the opening try. 

The Dolphins had a second in the 16th minute when Herbie Farnworth picked up a loose Euan Aitken offload before stepping inside several Warriors defenders to score.

Jamayne Isaako Try

The Warriors hit back just five minutes later when Marcelo Montoya beat Dolphins defenders to a Martin bomb before finding Chanel Harris-Tavita on the inside to score. 

A see-sawing battle then began to play out when Farnworth split the defence and exploded into space before finding Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in support who finished off the long range try. Isaako converted for a 16-6 lead.

Martin got one back for the Warriors seven minutes before the break, showcasing his speed and footwork to dummy his way through defenders and reduce the deficit 16-12 before the break. 

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow Try

The second half developed into an arm wrestle with both sides trading punches before the Warriors hit the front 27 minutes into the half when fill-in fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak crashed through after repeated sets on the line. 

With the weight of possession going their way late in the half the Warriors went further ahead with just 13 minutes left to play with Marata Niukore crashing through several would-be tacklers to put his side in front by eight.

Come the 26th minute and Isaako bagged a double in the right corner to set up a grandstand finish, but the Warriors defence held firm and Andrew Webster's men skipped out to their fifth victory for the season.

Match Snapshot

  • Warriors hooker Paul Roache left the field in the 11th minute with an ankle injury and did not return after being ruled out at half time.
  • The Dolphins conceded five penalties compared to the Warriors zero.
  • Dolphins forward Kenny Bromwich was placed on report in the 35th minute for a dangerous tackle.
  • Dallin Watene-Zelezniak did a fine job filling in at fullback with 184 metres off 23 runs, five tackle breaks to go with his try. 
  • Dolphins centre Herbie Farnworth had a day out on the left edge with a try, an assist, 202 run metres and three line breaks.
  • The Warriors have won four of their past six games against top-eight opposition.
  • Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has scored eight tries in his past six games.
  • Only two of the Dolphins’ 16 wins have been achieved outside Queensland.
  • Having already lost several key members to injury, the Warriors blows continued with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (illness), Taine Tuaupiki (birth of child), Addin Fonua-Blake (stood down) and Rocco Berry (hand) all ruled out in the lead up to the match.

Play of the Game 

Having just 25 minutes of game time to his name all season after battling a foot injury, Marata Niukore put in a huge stint at prop for the Warriors and capped it off with a barnstorming try to seal the late victory.

Marata Niukore Try

What They Said 

"I'm so proud of them, the 17 players that took the field tonight were so together, so tight and confident in each other. If you had of seen our dressing shed before the game you would understand that was no fluke tonight. They literally believed they could beat a top four side tonight." - Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 12

"There was a lot of effort and no result. The penalties and a couple of drop balls from kicks cost us two tries, it's not hard to work out. It didn't matter who they played, they were going to play the way they played and we knew that." - Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett

Dolphins: Round 12

What's Next

The Dolphins return home to prepare for their home clash against the Raiders while the Warriors enjoy a week off before facing the Cowboys in Townsville.

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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