A high scoring match at Mt Smart Stadium has seen the Mounties fall short against the Warriors by 36-28 in the NSW Cup match.
A mistake from the Mounties gave the Warriors an early opportunity and they capitalised through Warriors flyer Glen Fisiiahi, when he dived on a nice kick in behind the line from Ata Hingano. The conversion gave the Warriors a 6-0 lead after 7 minutes.
The Mounties had their first chance after 16 minutes when they received a penalty for a strip on Jeff Lynch close to the Warriors line and they capitalised when Mark Nicholls crashed over under the posts when Glen Buttriss provided a nice ball from dummy half. Mitch Cornish converted and scores were level at 6-6.
The Mounties looked to have pushed into the lead after 23 minutes when Mark Nicholls regathered a Mitch Cornish kick, but they were denied the try as Jeremy Hawkins was ruled offside even though replays suggested otherwise.
The Warriors then hit the lead through Nathaniel Rose, as they broke through the Mounties middle third of the field after some lead up work from David Bhana. The conversion made it 12-6 to the Warriors after 28 minutes.
A try from Mitch Cornish brought the teams back on level terms, after he managed to score when Josh McCrone sized up the Warriors defence and threaded a nice kick in behind the tryline. Cornish converted for the 12-12 scoreline.
Sione Lousi barged his way over in the corner for the Warriors to score on the stroke of halftime, giving the Warriors an 18-12 lead at the break.
The Warriors got off to a flyer in the second half when they scored in the opening two minutes, with the conversion giving them a 24-12 lead.
Mitch Barnett brought the Mounties back within a converted try when he ran a nice line from a Mitch Cornish to score, as Cornish converted for the 24-18 scoreline.
The joy was short-lived for the Mounties as David Fusit’ua raced away for a length of the field try, when Josh McCrone’s kick was batted back into his hands with no defence in front of him. Mason Lino continued his perfect strike rate with the boot to extend the lead to 30-18.
Fusit’ua then scored his second try after the Warriors marched down the field with back to back penalties, with the score line blowing out to 36-18 after the sideline conversion.
Mitch Barnett picked up his double after 60 minutes when he used size and strength to barge his way over for a try and when Cornish converted the score was back to a 36-24 and just a 12 point deficit.
The Mounties got themselves right back in the contest with five minutes left on the clock when Mitch Cornish showed great vision to set up a try for Gus Aiga, but unfortunately Cornish couldn’t convert from the side line and the difference was 8 points at 36-28 and that’s where it remained until fulltime.
Mitch Cronin was taken the field after 11 minutes when he suffered from a neck injury in a tackle while carrying the ball and was taken to hospital in Auckland for precautionary scans. We will endeavour to provide further updates as they come to hand.