Warriors Hold Off Fast-Finishing Bears At Home
The Warriors have bounced back from a scrappy Round 11 win with a good victory in Round 12, defeating the North Sydney Bears 18-10 at Mt Smart Stadium. Having convincingly defeated the Bears on their turf four weeks ago, the Warriors were impressive yet again - but had to contend with a fast finish from their opposition in Auckland.
Halfback and captain Mason Lino was in form as per usual, while Toafofoa Sipley came up with two vital runs for the Warriors. While all 17 of the Bears were willing in attack and defence, a number of errors at key moments made life difficult for Ben Gardiner's men.
Rocked by the immediate departure of Tui Lolohea, who signed with the Wests Tigers in the lead-up, the Warriors shifted usual no.9 Sam Cook to fullback and the talented Jazz Tevaga filled the hooking role. The Bears featured a new-look forward pack with Clayton Williams, David Tyrell and Patrice Siolo all coming into the starting side.
A late hit on Eli Levido gifted the North Sydney side an attacking set early, but they failed to come up with points from their first opportunity - before helping the Warriors back upfield due to a penalty. From there, the second-placed hosts made no mistake as Mason Lino put in a grubber for Junior Pauga, who outpaced Latrell Schaumkel to score the opening try. Lino then nailed the conversion and it was 6-0 in favour of the hosts.