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Warriors go down in Fai tribute match

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Warriors go down in Fai tribute match

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:54 pm

The New Zealand Warriors were unable to mark their tribute match to teammate Sonny Fai with victory today, going down 16-22 to South Sydney in a National Rugby League match in Auckland.

The result took the Rabbitohs to the top of the table on points differential over three other teams, while the Warriors remain in mid-table.

Fai, 20, went missing while rescuing his brother and cousins at a west Auckland beach in early January. Instead of a minute's silence before the match, the 19,386-strong crowd was instead asked to stand for a round of applause. Earlier, there were performances by Polynesian groups, including from Fai's old school of De La Salle College and the Samoan Methodist Church in Otahuhu.

When the match began, Souths, with five-eighth John Sutton a constant danger with his ball-playing skills, made a lively start.

With a bit more luck, they could have been two tries up after seven minutes. Second rower Ben Lowe, sent clear by a Sutton pass, looked set to score before he had the ball knocked from his grasp by opposition winger Aidan Kirk. Instead, it was the injury-hit Warriors, without skipper Steve Price and star centre Brent Tate, who struck first in the ninth minute, with Kirk crossing in the corner. They went further ahead 5min later when a period of pressure and a strong run from impressive young prop Russell Packer led to lock Micheal Luck crossing.

Winger Denan Kemp added both conversions for a 12-0 lead.

Souths hit back with a brace of tries of their own, the first started by a great kick return by fullback Luke Capewell, who finished off the attack after receiving a short pass from Sutton. Sutton then produced another piece of invention when he chipped on the second tackle for Auckland-born Tongan international Fetuli Talanoa before Souths were awarded a penalty try when he was held back by Kirk. Sandow's second conversion tied up the ball game, but the Warriors then dominated territory over the final 10min of the half. The pressure told with fullback Wade McKinnon taking an inside ball from halfback Stacey Jones to score and help the home side to a 16-12 halftime lead.

Both teams had their moments in the third quarter, with the Warriors coming closest with hardworking second rower Jacob Lillyman crossing midway through the second spell but called back for an earlier knock-on.

With 12min remaining the Rabbitohs finally hit the front when a Jones cross kick on attack was grabbed by Talanoa, who ran 80m untouched to dot down under the crossbar for Sandow to convert. Souths' other winger, Nathan Merritt, made it a six-point game when he crossed in the corner with 7min to go.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 (Luke Capewell, Fetuli Talanoa, Nathan Merritt tries; penalty try; Chris Sandow 3 goals) New Zealand Warriors 16 (Aidan Kirk, Micheal Luck, Wade McKinnon tries; Denan Kemp 2 goals). Halftime: 12-16.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/league/news/article.cfm?c_id=79&objectid=10565343
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