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Fullback Taine Tuaupiki scored 16 points including a first half double to lead the One New Zealand Warriors to a 24-18 win over second-placed Canberra in Saturday’s 17th-round New South Wales Cup encounter at Go Media Stadium.

Stretching their winning running to four matches, the Warriors moved to 23 points, just one behind the Raiders in third spot and two behind competition leaders the North Sydney Bears who play on Sunday.

Boosted by NRL forwards Bunty Afoa, Tom Ale and Jacob Laban, the Warriors made a brilliant start with Tuaupiki crossing for the first of his tries in just the second minute.

It was soon negated through a converted Corey Horsburgh try which evened the score up at 6-6.

The Warriors reorganised themselves, got in the grind and then picked up two tries in a matter of three minutes, first through Tuaupiki again and then winger Motu Pasikala who chased down a kicked just inside the dead ball line. Television replays showed he had knocked on but the try had been awarded and no way of overturning it with no bunker operating for the match.

The lucky break opened up a 16-6 lead which the Warriors maintained until the final seconds of the half when the Raiders trimmed the margin to 16-8 with a penalty.

In greasy conditions, the contest became an arm wrestle with the error count climbing, neither team troubling the scoreboard. The Warriors also had to contend with having Demitric Sifakula sent to the sin bin.

Then in the 58th minute, centre Setu Tu hunted down a kick to score – Tuaupiki converting – for the Warriors to open up a 22-6 advantage.

Canberra responded to have the game in the balance at 22-14 but not before some controversy.

A melee erupted after the try was scored with most of the players involved. After a long stoppage Warriors forwards Tom Ale and Jacob Laban plus Canberra’s Horsburgh were ordered off, the game down to 11 on 12 for the final 14 minutes.

Tuaupiki kicked a penalty to make it 24-14 as the Warriors managed the final stages of the game cleverly before conceding a 79th minute try.

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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