Fairytale win for Wiki and the Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fairytale win for Wiki and the Warriors

By Steve Jancetic 20/09/2008 06:33:44 AM Comments (0)

The words on Ruben Wiki's wrist said it all - Carpe Diem - and seize the day the New Zealand Warriors did as they prolonged their inspirational prop's NRL farewell with a 30-13 semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters in Auckland on Friday night.

The Warriors survived a controversial penalty try and several other no try calls to book a preliminary final against Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium next Saturday.

"I don't want this ride to end," said Wiki.

And neither did the 25,585 fans who crowded into Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night as they witnessed their team move to within 80 minutes of their second grand final berth.

While the final scored indicates somewhat of a blowout, the Warriors were forced to do it the hard way, with the Roosters taking a 13-6 lead into the break.

"To get out at halftime only seven points down, we weren't too unhappy about that, the boys just came out and showed more control than they have probably in any game," Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said.

"I couldn't ask for much more really."

The Warriors were unstoppable after the break, the only thing denying them an even more comprehensive win was some desperate Roosters defence and some tough calls from referee Steve Clark.

But after Lance Hohaia scored his second try of the night just after halftime, the game - and the officiating - turned as the Warriors surged.

A touch-and-go try to Ian Henderson, who appeared to put the ball on Braith Anasta's foot before rolling it onto the ground, started a rot which continued when Manu Vatuvei dived over minutes later.

When Aiden Kirk raced 80 metres to score an intercept try six minutes from time, the celebrations were underway.

For the Roosters the loss ended a season which promised so much, their second-half fade eerily similar to the one which allowed Brisbane to run over the top of them in week one of the finals.

"It was in the back our minds ... we encouraged ourselves not to let it happen again and we unfortunately we did," Anasta said.

"I don't know what it is."

Still coach Brad Fittler said the signs for the club were positive despite his obvious disappointment at the result.

"From a point of view of the Roosters it's been outstanding, they were coming last about eight weeks to go last year and we got ourselves to fourth," Fittler said.

"We bowed out of two semi-finals and we're going to learn a lot from that.

"From where they've come, they've done a great job."

Hohaia scored after just three minutes to hand the Warriors the perfect start, but it was all the Roosters early on, only for their attack in the opposition's red zone to let them down.

The Roosters levelled the match on 28 minutes when Mitchell Pearce backed-up his own 40-20 kick to cross next to the posts.

But the Warriors were left seething just three minutes later when Hohaia was ruled to have taken out Anthony Minichiello as he attempted to chase down a rolling ball in the in-goal.

Cleary said the only positive he took out of the decision was it didn't effect the outcome.

"I've been saying all year that I'm not a fan of the video ref ... it's an absolute lottery," Cleary said.

"How it was a foul I can't see.

"I'm just really glad that it didn't effect the outcome of the game."

The match was marred by allegations of bottles being thrown at the Roosters after Hohaia's second try, fullback Minichiello claiming one of the two plastic bottles just missed him.

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