Warriors hang on for gritty win

The Warriors have timed their run impeccably to win a seesawing NRL match 24-20 against Canterbury in Wellington.

Fifth on the ladder and coming off a five-day turnaround after downing the Storm 18-12 on Monday, the Bulldogs looked in control in taking a 14-8 lead into halftime.

But tries to Jonathan Wright and Tuimoala Lolohea early in the second spell at Westpac Stadium turned the game around for the Warriors, although they had to hold off a desperate Canterbury charge in the final five minutes.

The Warriors hit the front after 11 minutes when a combination of slick passing and pace out wide put David Fusitua over in the corner.

Three minutes later Blake Ayshford doubled the margin, diving over out wide to give the Warriors a useful 8-0 advantage after 14 minutes.

The loss of fullback Roger Tuivasa-Scheck soon after with a knee injury shook the Warriors and they paid the price when the Bulldogs finally found good field position.

The visitors hit back in the 23rd minute with a Will Hopoate skip pass finding 21-Test Kiwi Sam Perrett with plenty of space to cross in the corner and Perrett then replicating the try barely four minutes later.

Kerrod Holland’s conversion of the second four-pointer gave them the lead, which was extended right on halftime.

Sam Kasiano’s quick play of the ball combined with sharp work from Perrett down the right to put Holland over for his second NRL try put the Bulldogs up 14-8.

The Warriors came out firing in the second stanza, a pinpoint wide kick from Johnson finding Wright in perfect position deep on the left to score six minutes after the restart.

Four minutes later they hit the front, Tuimoala Lolohea’s blindside run from dummy half catching Canterbury napping, and he crashed over for the Warriors to go to 18-14.

Ayshford crossed for his second at 64 minutes after the Warriors again shifted the ball wide, the Aucklanders maintaining pressure to lead 24-14 with five minutes remaining.

But although the Warriors looked to have the game under control, Holland’s second try of the night in the 75th meant they had to defend right to the final whistle.

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