New Zealand Warriors half Kodi Nikorima





The New Zealand Warriors have defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 37-26 in a see-sawing affair at Central Coast Stadium.

Entering the forty-first clash between the two clubs at twenty wins apiece, both sides were eager to display their attacking prowess in front of the small crowd gathered in Gosford.

In his debut match, Cowboys junior Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was forced to shift to fullback early in the match.

Usual Valentine Holmes suffered an ankle injury in a tackle from Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

It was a less than ideal start for the debutant, who was caught out of position as the Warriors landed the first strike through Patrick Herbert.

The man nicknamed ‘The Hammer’ soon hit back with a nice floated ball to Holmes playing on the wing.

Kyle Feldt then capitalised on a clumsy defensive error from Peta Hiku to give the Cowboys the lead.

Despite scoring the least points of any side in the league through four rounds, the Warriors had no attacking dramas in this clash.

Kodi Nikorima flew through a gaping hole to send Elisea Katoa crashing over for the second try of his young career.

Peta Hiku then redeemed his earlier mistake by constructing a try from some lacklustre build-up play.

He beat Esan Masters one-on-one to give the Warriors the lead at the break.

Returning to the field, it took the Cowboys less than two minutes to erase their five-point deficit in the second half as Justin O’Neill finished off a silky shift from the scrum.

In the spirit of the match, both teams then traded blows.

Adam Pompey crossed in the forty-fifth minute before Francis Molo crashed over three minutes later.

However, the toll of the cowboys impounding injuries slowly began to mount.

With Jordan Maclean joining Holmes on the sidelines, the Warriors seized the opportunity to push ahead through two more tries to Peta Hiku.

When Karl Lawton crossed with ten minutes to go to give the warriors a thirteen-point advantage, the result was all but confirmed.

A late Kyle Feldt four-pointer proved little more than a consolation try.

Speaking to the media post-game, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney was pleased with the way his team rebounded from last week’s loss.

Though he conceded that tonight’s performance was far from polished.

“We were disappointed in last week’s performance, so to come out against a quality side like the Cowboys and perform the way we did was a positive… (but) we made it awfully hard for ourselves at times”.

In the game in which he passed the late Graham Murray as the most capped Cowboys coach, Paul Green expressed his disappointment of his team’s defensive resilience.

“We’re building new combinations, and with that comes (a lack of) confidence.

“You only build confidence through experience… but the bottom line is that we’ve got to be tougher mentally”

Both teams leave Gosford with two wins and three losses, with the Warriors advancing to play South Sydney next Friday while the Cowboys will play the Tigers on Saturday evening.

NRL News Player of the Game:

3 Points – Kodi Nikorima – Was seemingly in everything tonight with a try assist at a crucial stage in each half. Performances like these will solidify his spot in the side over Chanel Harris-Tevita.

2 Points – Blake Green – Has been quiet this season but chimed in for three try assists tonight, including a beautiful chip kick to open the Warriors affair.

1 Point – Peta Hiku – Crossed for three tries, including two in the second half when the result was in doubt.

Special mention also goes to Josh McGuire, who made 49 tackles in addition to 177 running metres on 17 carries.

New Zealand Warriors centre Peta Hiku.

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