Hands up who saw this coming.

The short answer is no one, perhaps apart from those inside the Warriors inner sanctum.

The Auckland team have a long history of producing the unexpected, both good and bad, but this 24-16 victory over Manly was one of the great NRL shocks, especially in the wake of last week's feeble display against the Raiders.

And not just the result, but the manner of the performance. The Sea Eagles, who have been one of the best attacking sides this year, were held scoreless until the 67th minute, when the Warriors were reduced to 12 men.


At times in the first half, it felt like they could have played until midnight and not crossed the Warriors line, such was the determination and resilience on defence from the home side.

The 'thou shall not pass' attitude had echoes of the Dragons clash at Mt Smart last year, or the famed effort in Penrith in 2010.

The second half was a nervy affair, especially when Manly threatened an incredible comeback late in the match, but the Warriors stood tall until the end.

Among many strong performers, Chanel Harris-Tavita was outstanding, while the entire pack stood up to be counted.

The Warriors started with intensity, and in the conditions, Ken Maumalo's first try was a thing of beauty. The chip from Harris-Tavita was inch perfect, and the way Maumalo gathered the ball in the greasy conditions, then tiptoed along the sideline, was highly impressive.

Unfortunately, an error in the play the ball from the next set put the team on the back foot. They did well to withstand plenty of pressure, with three penalties and a line dropout, and showed more commitment in a frenetic 10-minute spell than they had in last week's entire match.

Harris-Tavita sent Curtis Sironen backwards with a big hit, and Peta Hiku's cover tackle on Daly Cherry-Evans was critical. The Warriors were fired up, while Manly's passes were going astray under pressure.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors is tackled. Photo / Getty
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors is tackled. Photo / Getty

A seven-tackle set helped the Warriors finally escape their own territory, and they made the most of it with two tries.


The first came courtesy of some magic from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who regathered a Green grubber, then flung it between his legs to a juggling Ligi Sao.

More was to come just three minutes later, with a double round and slick hands from Harris-Tavita setting up Maumalo, who did well to avoid touching the sideline.

The game got spicy but the Warriors relished the combat and Tuivasa-Sheck was perfectly positioned to deal with Cherry-Evans' arsenal of attacking kicks.

The first-half statistics were hard to believe; the Sea Eagles had enjoyed 55 per cent possession and completed 18 of 19 sets but were scoreless.

The Warriors created some good chances after halftime — with a brilliant raid down the left wing scotched by a Maumalo forward pass — and kept up their defensive urgency.

The visitors upped the tempo and started to roll down the field but couldn't profit.
The course of the game changed in the 66th minute when Adam Blair was sin-binned for a professional foul on Cherry-Evans.


It was a close call but a poor decision from a senior forward in the circumstances. Manly then crossed for three tries in eight minutes to close to two points, as the Warriors began to tire.

There were nerves aplenty, from the coaching box to the grandstand, before Jazz Tevaga's 77th-minute try from dummy half sealed an epic win.

Warriors 24 (Ken Maumalo 2, Ligi Sao, Jazz Tevaga tries; Chanel Harris-Tavita 3 cons, pen)
Sea Eagles 16 (Joel Thompson, Reuben Garrick 2 tries; Garrick 2 cons)
Halftime: 18-0