The New Zealand Warriors attempted to stop their season spiralling out of the control as they faced the Sydney Roosters before the departure of four players.
It didn’t take long for some points to be put on the board, but it wasn’t the favoured Roosters who scored them.
After a repeat set in midfield, the Warriors worked their way towards the posts and a crossfield kick from Blake Green was tapped back, and then spread wide to Ken Maumalo to walk over on the left edge.
Further ill-discipline from the Roosters allowed the Warriors to start another attacking set on the ten-metre line, but a lack of concentration from Kodi Nikorima let the Roosters off the hook.
After a ten minute spell where the Roosters started to get back into the game, it looked as though the visitors had finally hit back as Sitili Tupouniua crashed over but a herculean effort from Tohu Harris stopped the big man scoring.
Just minutes later, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves crashed over, but the ball was stripped in the act of scoring by Jazz Tevaga, and after a high tackle from the Roosters prop-forward, the Warriors kicked clear.
Sio Taukieiaho was the next Roosters to go close, but the forward dropped the ball, which allowed Nikorima to pick up the loose ball and race up to the 40-metre line as the Warriors turned defence into attack.
Five tackles later, Adam Pompey twisted and turned to get over the line, but dropped the ball backwards as James Tedesco cleaned up and was forced into conceding a goal-line drop-out.
Just after the 20th minute, Luke Keary kicked into the corner of David Fusitu’a, but the Warriors winger couldn’t gather cleanly, and the loose ball was picked up by Tupouniua and the Roosters finally hit back.
With eight minutes to go until the break, Jake Friend kicked along the floor for his left-hand edge to chase, but Ken Maumalo beat them all to the ball as he grounded in his own in-goal, some Roosters chasers were also offside therefore a penalty was awarded to the home side.
As the half drew towards a close, the Warriors were once again in the driver’s seat, and with 90 seconds left, they regained the lead.
Eliesa Katoa collected a short ball from Nikorima and the back-rower carried three Roosters over the line with him to score.
HALF-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 10-6 Sydney Roosters
The second half started tightly, with neither team wanted to make an error, but some ill-discipline from the Warriors allowed the Roosters to get to within a metre of the try-line.
Brett Morris went close, but as he attempted an offload, the ball was stripped from the grasp by Peta Hiku with two people in the tackle and a penalty was awarded.
Three tackles later, Keary dribbled a kick through earlier, and it ricocheted back off the Warriors into the half-backs hand and he slid over to level the score.
With over an hour gone, the Roosters still only led by two, and the Warriors were certainly not giving up on stealing a victory from this game.
However, as the 70-minute mark approached, the home side were physically tiring, and Joseph Manu took advantage of that.
The centre picked up from dummy-half ten metres out and targeted Chanel Harris-Tevita, and powered over the top to score.
Kyle Flanagan converted for an eight-point lead with nine minutes remaining.
With five minutes to go, the Roosters were searching for that guaranteed match-winner, with the Warriors showing fatigue.
Sio Taukeiaho crashed over the line two minutes later, as he stepped past Karl Lawton but the try was disallowed after Waerea-Hargreaves impeded Peta Hiku and the score remained 10-18.
Following a knock-on from Tupouniua, the Warriors attacked from a scrum 10-metres out in midfield and looked to throw a later spanner in the works.
However, after making such a big effort in defence, there was no energy left in the Warriors tank and once again Nikorima knocked on.
FULL-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 10-18 Sydney Roosters
New Zealand Warriors
Tuivasa-Sheck, Fusitu’a, Pompey, Hiku, Maumalo, Nikorima, Green, Taunoa-Brown, Lawton, Hetherington, Katoa. Harris. Tevaga
Interchanges: Harris-Tevita. Blair, Papali’i, Burr
Tries: Maumalo, Katoa
Goals: Pompey (1/2)
Tedesco, Ikuvalu, J. Morris, Manu, B. Morris, Keary. Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Aubusson, Tupouniua, Liu
Interchanges: Lam, Butcher, Collins, Faamausili
Tries: Tupouniua, Keary, Manu
Goals: Flanagan (3/3)
Referee: C. Sutton
Touch Judges: P. Henderson, D. Oultram
Video Referee: B. Lower
Image Source: @sydneyroosters (Twitter)