NZ Warriors knock over Parramatta Eels
Three second-half tries saw the New Zealand Warriors shut out the Parramatta Eels 24-4 in pre-season NRL trial at Rotorua's International Stadium today.
Winger Manu Vatuvei opened the scoring for the Warriors in the 10th minute, crashing his way through his opposite Esi Uaisele in the corner as the Warriors attacked down the right.
Ex-Eels winger Krisnan Inu struck the next blow, timing his jump perfectly to pluck an Aaron Heremaia bomb from the air and extend the lead to 8-0.
However, Eels second rower Taniera Lasalo struck back at the half-hour mark to reduce the Warriors halftime lead to 8-4, finishing off after Parramatta halfback Jeff Robson broke the line with ease.
Parramatta were close to tying up the match just a minute into the second half when Justin Horo was brought down just centimetres from the tryline. On the next play, lock Billy Rogers dropped the ball across the line.
The Warriors were quick to respond through first-year NRL player Glen Fisiiahi, alternating between fullback and the wing, who broke the line and managed to evade the defence to score. Inu converted for a 14-4 lead.
Fisiiahi stretched the lead to 20-4 when some offloading and strong running from the Warriors broke the Eels' defensive line at the 60-minute mark.
Lewis Brown, on the field for the full 80 minutes in the second row and then centres, crossed from a penalty close to Parramatta's line to finish the scoring as fulltime closed.
The Warriors were without James Maloney, out through illness, with Isaac John called in as a late replacement to partner former Junior Warriors captain Elijah Taylor in the halves.
It was John's first run of the season after recovering from knee surgery.
But they were missing several of their top squad, including captain Simon Mannering, Kiwi fullback Lance Hohaia, new buy Shaun Berrigan and suspended halfback Brett Seymour plus Feleti Mateo and Joel Moon, both on All Stars duty.
Turning out for the first time after missing the 22-22 draw with Newcastle in Greymouth last weekend were Vatuvei, centre Jerome Ropati, hooker Aaron Heremaia and props Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer.
Brothers Sam and Steve Rapira played together in a Warriors side for the first time today, after previously having played together for the Junior Kiwis in 2005.
New Zealand Warriors 24 (Glen Fisiiahi 2, Manu Vatuvei, Krisnan Inu, Lewis Brown tries; Krisnan Inu 2 goals) Parramatta Eels 4 (Taniela Lasalo try). Halftime: 8-4.