Heavy defeat for Vodafone Junior Warriors
Sunday 5 August 2012 2:52 PM
The Vodafone Junior Warriors wasted a chance to increase their lead at the top of the table when they slumped to a 10-40 loss to Cronulla in today’s 22nd-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
With Penrith losing to Melbourne last night, the John Ackland-coached side would have moved to 35 points with victory against the Sharks but a seventh straight win rarely looked possible as the Vodafone Junior Warriors produced one of their worst displays at home.
Until today they had lost just once in New Zealand in more than two years, Canterbury-Bankstown winning 28-16 at Mount Smart Stadium earlier this season.
Cronulla scored too easily in just the fourth minutes and, while centre Ngani Laumape grabbed one soon after for the home side, it became clear this would not be one of the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ better days.
They had little possession and also gifted the ball to the Sharks when they twice failed to find touch from penalties.
Three more tries came in the first half enabling Cronulla to go to the break 22-4 ahead before stretching out to 28-4 with another converted try in the 47th minute.
A lull in scoring action followed until the Vodafone Junior Warriors arranged a second try for Laumape. With Mason Lino converting there was mathematically some hope with the score 10-28 but not this time.
Cronulla put it right out of reach with converted tries in the 71st and 74th minutes to finish 30 points clear.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors travel to Townsville to face North Queensland next Saturday night.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 10 (Ngani Laumape 2 tries; Mason Lino conversion).
Cronulla Sharks 40 (Nesiasi Mataitonga 2, Joshua Rainbow, Jake Walsh, Kurt Dillan, James Hasson, Sione Masima tries; Jake Walsh 6 conversions).
Halftime: 22-4 Sharks.
Referee: Gavin Reynolds.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: Peta Hiku; Omar Slaimankhel, Ngani Laumape, Ngataua Hukatai, David Fusitua; Eko Malu, Mason Lino; Ligi Sao, Siliva Havili, Nathaniel Peteru; Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, John Palavi (c); David Bhana. Interchange: Trent Bishop, Siulongoua Fotofili, Albert Vete, Toka Likiliki.