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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 20 Sep 2008 09:57:00 GMT
The inspirational New Zealand Warriors are one game away from making their second Grand Final after defeating the forty minute Roosters 30-13 in Auckland on Friday.

In front of 25,585 fans who came en masse to witness Ruben Wiki’s final appearance on home turf, the Warriors used their size, fitness and controlled aggression to bury any possibility of an upset.

The idea of an upset looked plausible after the Roosters ran into the sheds at half-time up 13-6 care of a controversial penalty try to chooks fullback Anthony Minichello and a Braith Anasta field goal.

Video referees Steve Clark and Phil Cooley ruled that the Warriors defender, Lance Hohaia, held Minichello back from scoring a certain try.

For the sea of black and white, the second-half couldn’t come soon enough and when it did it was smiles all around as the most talked about team of the week raced in four unanswered tries to send Manly a message.

That message: “1 out of three will be brilliant if we beat you next Saturday night at the Sydney Football Stadium.”

Scoring a completion rate of 20 from 21, the Warriors turned the game on it’s head, providing Lance Hohaia with the field position to throw a dummy and roll over under the posts in the 45th minute to mark the beginning of the end for the bondi boys.

A disallowed try to Aidan Kirk was compensated for in the 57th minute when Ian Henderson was given the green light by the video referee.

The result by this stage appeared foregone and the only exercise that remained for commentators and fans was to determine not who would win but by how much.

Oozing confidence as quickly as a tube of a toothpaste,Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei was next to cross the line with a Michael Witt conversion pushing the home side out to a 24-13 lead.

The final road-kill came courtesy of Aidan Kirk who snatched an 80 metre intercept to help wave the Roosters goodbye from this year’s finals series.

A fitting act of revenge some might say for the Warriors who were beaten 30-8 by the Roosters in the 2002 Grand Final, a game which involved both men sitting in the coaches box last night.

The odds on the Warriors winning the premiership have now been slashed from $13 to $6.50 while Melbourne still remain favourites at $2.65 followed by Manly on $3.10.

NZ WARRIORS 30 (L Hohaia 2, I Henderson, A Kirk, M Vatuvei tries; M Witt 5 goals) bt ROOSTERS 13 (penalty try-A Minichiello, M Pearce tries; C Fitzgibbon 2 goals; B Anasta field goal) at Mt Smart Stadium. Referee: T Archer. Crowd: 25,585. - Read More, Here