Warriors give Vatuvei NRL win over Tigers

The Warriors celebrated fan favourite Manu Vatuvei’s NRL double century in winning style by repelling a determined West Tigers 32-22 in Auckland.

But the Saturday night party was at times a nervous one, before Vatuvei scored a vital try with 10 minutes to go.

It was the second of the game for the giant winger, who was making his 200th appearance for his only club, and took him to 140 career tries.

The figure put him level with Nigel Vagana as the most-prolific New Zealand try-scorer in NRL history.

The Tigers had defied a significant possession deficit and penalty count to stay in contention and winger Pat Richards gave them hope when he crossed with five minutes to go to pull them back to within four points.

But second-rower Bodene Thompson sealed the win with 80 seconds left when he cleaned up a loose ball from a bomb to grab the Warriors’ sixth try.

The result left both clubs with 3-3 records, but with the Tigers slightly better on for and against.

It was the visitors who struck first, centre Tim Simona scoring for the first of his two tries thanks to skipper Robbie Farah’s big break from dummy half.

From there, the Warriors dominated.

They sent plenty of the play to Vatuvei’s edge and he obliged by getting them on the board in typical fashion, powering past two tacklers.

Five-eighth Chad Townsend then went over before fullback Tuimoala Lolohea scored the Warriors’ third after a deft Ryan Hoffman offload and a damaging run from centre Konrad Hurrell.

When halfback Shaun Johnson’s speed took him over for the Warriors’ fourth try, it looked like the Tigers would be left behind.

But from a rare attack, fullback James Tedesco crossed to help close the gap to 20-12 at halftime.

Simona then produced a double fend on Hurrell and Johnson to complete his brace and Richards’ third conversion made it two-point ballgame.

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