THE NZ Warriors have turned on a gritty home performance to secure a big 8-6 upset win over the NRL premiers in freezing cold conditions in Auckland yesterday.
A smothering defence from the NZ Warriors was stifling the Storm all game, the conditions helping the locals continue to frustration tactics used so well by the Dragons on the Storm only a week prior.
Rain pounded down and the game was played under lights on a Mt Smart Stadium ground drenched by two days of wet weather, causing problems to both teams.
The result, sealed by a late penalty, continued the lowly-placed Warriors’ revival of the past month, and they have now won four matches in a row.
Playing into the strong wind, the Warriors drew first blood with a tough try to centre Sonny Fai, who scored after a pass from halfback Grant Rovelli 10 minutes into the game.
They were unlucky not to increase their lead after Ian Henderson got the ball across the try line with three minutes to go before halftime, only to have it ruled no try, due to interference.
The Warriors went into the break with a 4-0 lead.
The Storm, missing suspended star fullback Billy Slater, put in a valiant effort in defence as the Warriors pushed forward time and again.
In the second half both teams continued to slog it out as the south westerly wind whipped up.
A penalty by Lance Hohaia pushed the Warriors lead out to six points.
Twelve minutes into the second half the Storm hit back via a try to interchange forward Sika Manu who pushed his way through two Warriors defenders to score and tie-up the match.
But a penalty against Storm second rower Michael Crocker for not standing square at marker saw Hohaia clinch the win with a 40m kick for goal.