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Tuivasa-Sheck shines as Warriors down Dolphins in Auckland

With their forwards in full force and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at his scintillating best the Warriors downed the Dolphins 34-22 in Saturday's Pre-Season Challenge clash in Auckland.

After a gutsy loss to the Wests Tigers in Week 1 of the Pre-Season challenge, Andrew Webster's side went up another gear on Saturday with forwards Mitch Barnett and Marata Niukore laying the platform up front while Tuivasa-Sheck gave fans plenty to be excited about ahead of Round 1.

The Dolphins meanwhile stayed in the contest for the entire match but face a nervous wait to hear an update on star forward Tom Gilbert who suffered a suspected ACL injury.

The Warriors kicked off proceedings 14 minutes into the match with five-eighth Luke Metcalf fooling defenders with a Tuivasa-Sheck decoy before sending Marcelo Montoya barging over in the corner. 

The home side crossed again just three minutes later with Barnett finishing off a Kurt Capewell line break, charging through the Dolphins' right-edge.  

Mitchell Barnett Try

Just as the visitors were looking to work themselves into the game, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak intercepted a Kodi Nikorima pass, bringing all of Go Media to their feet as he glided 50m downfield.

The Dolphins got on the board in the 32nd minute when Jake Averillo scored his first try as a Dolphin courtesy of a Nikorima grubber and the visitors reduced the deficit 18-6 at the break.

Jake Averillo Try

The second term began in devastating scenes with Gilbert going down with a suspected knee injury in the 45th minute of the match. 

Come the 50th minute and star halfback Shaun Johnson stamped his authority on the match with a sublime pass sending centre Rocco Berry over for a 24-6 lead.

Three minutes later and Nikorima turned provider again, putting the ball up for a leaping Jack Bostock who outcompeted Ali Leiataua before crashing over the line. Jamayne Isaako added the extras to make it 24-12.

The Warriors forwards continued to stand tall with Marata Niukore getting in on the action, doing it all himself to charge over the line and looked to blow the game wide open.

But the Dolphins refused to lay down with star recruit Herbie Farnworth who finishing off a slick right side raid to score his second try of the Pre-Season Challenge and fan favourite Valynce Te Whare crossing three minutes later to close the gap 30-22.

But Webster's men had the last say with Tuivasa-Sheck gracing fans with his magic, bamboozling defenders with his footwork and finesse to create an opportunity for Leiataua to cross in the shadows of fulltime for a 34-22 victory.

Match Snapshot 

  • Dolphins halfback Sean O'Sullivan left the field just five minutes into the match for a head injury assessment after coming into contact with Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. Kurt Donoghue filled in at halfback.
  • Warriors skipper Tohu Harris left the field early in the first half for a head injury assessment but returned later in the match. The veteran finished with 42 tackles in the match.
  • Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako ran the ball 143 metres and had two tackle breaks.
  • The Dolphins had 13 errors while the Warriors finished with nine.
  • Warriors centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a day out in the No. 4 jersey with 185 run metres, 101 of which were post contact.

Play of the Game 

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Try

What's Next 

The Warriors return to Go Media Stadium to host the Sharks to kick off their Telstra Premiership campaign. 

The Dolphins launch the season with a Queensland derby when they meet the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on March 10.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Dolphins respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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