If you were expecting a blowout, it was the opposite, as the New Zealand Warriors fought valiantly to narrowly lose to defending premiers, the Sydney Roosters.
Despite everything going on – furthered by four players returning to their families in New Zealand – the Warriors dug deep.
With everything to play for and pride to show, the Warriors arguably started the stronger of the two sides.
They were rewarded handsomely when Kodi Nikorima’s bomb was deflected back to him.
The live-wire half then found Peta Hiku who passed to Ken Maumalo to score, one of the players set to return home.
On top of their good start, the Warriors had some defensive starch to boot and it showed.
On two occasions, they held the Roosters up over the tryline; preventing both Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Sitili Tupouniua from scoring.
Tupouniua would not be denied a second time, though, as he was there to pounce on the scraps of a Luke Keary bomb.
The defensive battle would continue until right before the break when the Warriors would score their second.
Promising back-rower Eliesa Katoa powered onto a short pass and barged his way over for his third this season.
It was only when Keary scored a solo try that the Roosters finally hit the lead.
That was a result of both the strong defensive showing from the Warriors and a rather inconsistent attacking display by the Roosters.
All the defensive work in the second half especially then took its toll on the Warriors outfit.
Joey Manu caught some of the defence napping and diced his way over with relative ease to score.
That would make the score 18-10 and no more points would be added.
In the end, the Roosters had to work hard for their win.
“So it was a really hard game and it wasn’t going our way and we weren’t clicking,” said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
“But we kept working hard and that’s why we got an 18-10 victory.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Luke Keary (SYD)
2. Eliesa Katoa (WAR)
- Sitili Tupouniua (SYD)