On Sunday afternoon the Sydney Roosters travelled across the Tasman and were narrowly defeated by the Warriors 20 – 18 at a cold and rainy AMI Stadium in Christchurch in front of 20,720 dedicated fans.
Just hanging onto a spot in the top eight this season, the Roosters have been very inconsistent, Sunday’s loss giving them an equal number of wins and losses so far for the year. Meanwhile the Warriors boast the same record and are just one rank below Sydney on the ladder, both with 18 competition points.
A hat-trick by speedy winger Kevin Locke sealed the deal for the Warriors in the final minute of play after a thrilling game of footy decided under testing conditions.
New Zealand kicked off, scoring nine minutes into Sunday’s match when Locke got his first of an eventual three tries, giving the Warriors an early four point lead.
Not long after, Sydney fought back with two tidy tries in two minutes to take the lead. First, Mitchell Pearce opened the Chooks’ account in the 20th minute and then Todd Carney, back playing his preferred position as five-eighth, got another in the 22nd minute after the ball rebounded off the goal post. Carney converted both to give Sydney a nice 12 – 4 lead.
But then four minutes from the break Locke scored his second, to narrow the deficit 12 – 8 with New Zealand still trailing by four after missing the conversion.
In the second half it was a rousing battle between the two. In the 64th minute Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored the third try for the Roosters, Carney making it three from three with his kick through the posts, extending their lead to 10 points.
It was another 10 minutes before the Warriors scored their third, Manu Vatuvei the man behind the four-pointer in the 74th minute. James Maloney made his first conversion of the night, a brilliant effort from the side-line, and New Zealand now had six minutes to score and win.
In the dying seconds they did just that, Locke making it a hat-trick in the 80th minute with a gutsy try to tie the score 18 all before Maloney booted it through the posts on the full time siren so the Warriors came away victorious.
After his match winning try, Locke was stretchered off the field having been smashed into the left-upright seconds after he touched the ball down off his own kick.
In Round 17 the Roosters are on the road again travelling to Canberra to play the Raiders, while the Warriors stay in New Zealand to host the Eels on Sunday. Get the best odds for both these great showdowns at Ladbrokes.com.au!