NRL: Warriors unscathed after latest trial victory

Warrior Jerome Ropati. Photo / File
Warrior Jerome Ropati. Photo / File

The Warriors came through their third trial yesterday with no fresh injury concerns and the satisfaction of knowing centre Jerome Ropati had made a successful return from knee surgery in his first outing in almost a year.

The Warriors were never likely to be unduly tested by their Queensland Cup opposition as they ran in 13 tries to win 68-10 in front of a crowd of about 9000 at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.

The match completed a run of three straight trial wins and the Warriors now turn their focus to their season-opening grand final rematch against Manly at Eden Park on March 4.

Ropati admitted to nerves throughout the week as he contemplated his first match since last season was ended by a knee injury on March 27. He was delighted to get through a game in which he made a big contribution, not least some superb work he did to set up winger Ivan Penehe for an early try and the one he scored himself backing up a brilliant Konrad Hurrell break.

Mercifully, too, there were no new injuries, especially to front rowers.

It took no time at all for the Warriors to leave their imprint on the game, with Ben Matulino and Penehe both crossing in the opening minutes. While the visitors did organise the next try, the rest of the day provided football which, at times, was of the exhibition variety.

Relishing Toll Stadium's splendid playing surface, the Warriors' speedsters were in full cry. Again Hurrell was an individual standout. He didn't feature among the try scorers this week after doing so in the previous trials against Gold Coast and South Sydney but his influence on the contest couldn't have been more pronounced. He was a constant threat with his explosive ball running, highlighted by a tackle-busting special which was ultimately finished of by Ropati.

There was plenty of encouragement, too, in the performances of Ben Matulino and Russell Packer, now the frontline props with Jacob Lillyman, Sam Rapira and Steve Rapira sidelined.

Warriors 68 (Ivan Penehe 2, Ben Matulino 2, Alehana Mara, Pita Godinet, Ukuma Ta'ai, Kevin Locke, Krisnan Inu, Lewis Brown, Jerome Ropati, Glen Fisiiahi, Ben Henry tries; Krisnan Inu 4 cons; Kevin Locke 3 cons; Ben Henry con).

Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles 10 (Kane Richards, Campbell Stewart tries; Dale Middleton con).

Halftime: 26-6.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 23 Oct 2014 18:59:15 Processing Time: 185ms