The North Sydney Bears have gone down to the New Zealand Warriors 30-22 in a narrow contest at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
Featuring many young South Sydney Rabbitohs in the team, the Bears pushed the Warriors all the way in their Round 1 clash.
The Bears got off to a strong start scoring three tries in the first half. Mawene Hiroti, Braidon Burns and Amanaki Veamatahau built up a 16-4 lead after 22 minutes, which cancelled out an early try from Warriors fullback Lewis Soosesea.
The Warriors hit back straight away, scoring back-to-back tries within three minutes via Chanel Harris-Tavita and James Bell to pull the score back to 16-14 at half-time.
The first 20 minutes of the second half was a tight affair but the resilient Bears were eventually undone by two quick-fire tries to Soosesea, who completed his hat trick on 68 minutes.
Vincent Leuluai scored late on for North Sydney in his return to competitive football since recovering from shoulder reconstruction but it was too little too late with the Warriors holding on for an eight-point win.