NZ Warriors calm Storm to grab 8-6 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ Warriors calm Storm to grab 8-6 win

27/07/2008 04:50:53 PM Comments (0)

The resurgent New Zealand Warriors claimed their biggest scalp of the season, outgunning premiers Melbourne in appalling conditions in Auckland, to continue their late charge to the NRL finals.

A 40-metre penalty goal from Lance Hohaia with eight minutes left on the clock earned the Warriors a priceless 8-6 victory at Mount Smart Stadium to stretch their winning streak to four matches.

The win elevated the Warriors to equal seventh on the congested ladder - 10th on points differential - with six regular-season rounds remaining.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was generous in defeat, saying the defending premiers fell to a much better side in the wet and wild weather.

Bellamy said the Warriors thoroughly deserved their win and that it would have an injustice if the Storm had been able to snatch the points during a frenetic finish.

"They were too good for us today," he said.

"They out-enthused us, out-worked us, out-everythinged (sic) us."

Warriors captain Steve Price said while it was a great win in tough conditions, he cautioned his Warriors from getting over-confident in coming weeks despite upstaging the premiers.

"We are not getting carried away," he said.

"It just continues to build confidence. The attitude at training certainly doesn't change. Now the focus is on South Sydney, in Sydney, (next week)."

With controversy still raging after a week of criticism of Melbourne's on-field tactics, the Storm were put under pressure from a resolute Warriors defence and turned the ball over regularly in the slippery conditions.

Rain pounded down and the game was played under lights on a ground drenched by two days of wet weather, causing problems for both teams.

Bellamy conceded his team paid the price for not handling the conditions as well as the Warriors did.

"We didn't make a lot of errors playing fancy footy. It was just sort of dropping it in the play-the-ball or one off the ruck, or stuff like that," he said.

Bellamy noted his team had only lost three games all year at close to full strength, and he expected a better performance next week.

"We will forgive them for this one," he said.

Playing into the strong wind in front of a crowd of about 9000, the Warriors drew first blood with a tough try to centre Sonny Fai, who scored after a pass from halfback Grant Rovelli 10 minutes into the game.

They were unlucky not to increase their lead after Ian Henderson got the ball across the try line three minutes before halftime, only to have it ruled no try, due to interference.

The Storm, missing suspended star fullback Billy Slater, put in a valiant effort in defence as the Warriors pushed forward time and again.

The Warriors had to settle for a 4-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, both teams continued to slog it out as the south-westerly wind whipped up.

The Storm hit back 12 minutes into the second half via a try to interchange forward Sika Manu, who pushed his way through two Warriors defenders to score and tie up the match.

But a penalty against Storm second rower Michael Crocker for not standing square at marker allowed Hohaia to clinch victory.

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