Locke hat-trick aids Warriors 20-18 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Locke hat-trick aids Warriors 20-18 win

By Ben Horne 27/06/2010 06:29:33 PM Comments (0)

Hat-trick hero Kevin Locke scored the most courageous match-winning try of the NRL season to lift the Warriors to a 20-18 last-gasp win in Christchurch.

Locke put his body on the line on Sunday, when at top speed he managed to touch down his own kick a split second before being crunched into the left-upright.

The movement began 45 metres out from the Roosters line with a precise Lance Hohaia grubber. It finished with Locke leaving the ground on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious hip injury, after showing incredible speed to toe the ball through and score in between Rooster Phil Graham and the goal-post.

Locke writhed in pain on the ground and didn't move for several minutes after he bent his leg around the goal-post.

"I know he's pretty sore; he's in hospital being assessed and we won't know until later on tonight or tomorrow," Hohaia said.

"It (the final move) was planned. We were setting up for a play like that the tackle before and Kevin was right there.

"He never gave up the chase, he's a little speedster and he got there.

"We're really happy for him and hopefully the injury isn't too severe."

As he was stretchered from the field, Locke acknowledged the 20,721 fans who braved the extreme cold and wet at Christchurch's AMI Stadium.

"He certainly only had eyes for the try," coach Ivan Cleary said on ABC radio.

"It was just set up as one of those moments, the last play in the game, goal post in the way but he managed to get to the football and you've got to love when a player plays like that."

The Warriors looked dead and buried, down 18-8 with six minutes to go, when their other winger Manu Vatuvei showed great power and skill to score inside the left-hand corner post.

A freakish sideline conversion, perhaps the best of the season, from five-eighth James Maloney brought the Warriors within a converted try, however the clock was running out.

The Roosters looked in control after a dominant first half display by five-eighth Todd Carney and a barnstorming effort from centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall in the 64th minute which gave them the 10 point buffer.

"I couldn't have expected much more from my guys today I think we just didn't transfer that into a win so obviously I'm pretty disappointed by that," Roosters coach Brian Smith said on ABC radio.

Locke's heroics in the first half kept the Warriors in the game and if it wasn't for his desperation in all three tries they wouldn't have even been in a position to steal victory.

Locke scored the first try of the match when he chased a James Maloney kick, and got in behind Phil Graham to get a hand on the ball as the Roosters winger tried to shadow the Steeden over the dead-ball line.

It was a controversial benefit of the doubt ruling, and if the lines at AMI Stadium were more firmly painted, it may have shown on replays that it was definitely a no try.

Rooster Todd Carney put his side in a match-winning position when in the first half he laid on a four-pointer for Blues' No.7 Pearce, before starting and finishing a spectacular try of his own, which also featured the right-hand goal-post, when the ball rebounded of it.

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