ROUND 2 - 2003

Date 23rd Mar 2003
Venue Mt Smart Stadium
Coach Steve Folkes
Captain Steve Price
Referee Bill Harrigan
Crowd 16229
Bulldogs V Warriors
20 24
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Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Hazem El Masri 0 4 0 8
Willie Mason 1 0 0 4
Matt Utai 1 0 0 4
Nigel Vagana 1 0 0 4

Match Review

The New Zealand Warriors have continued their mental and physical advantage over the Bulldogs with a close but convincing 24-20 victory against the Bulldogs. The Warriors have enjoyed a remarkable record against the Bulldogs since 1998 and it continued again as they enjoyed their first victory of the season.

Stacey Jones got the Warriors going on the right foot when he engineered tries for Henry Faafili and Francis Meli to open up an early 8-0 lead.

The Bulldogs struck back when Braith Anasta setup a try for Nigel Vagana and than a break from Matthew Utai saw Willie Mason race 30m to score. Hazem El Masri converted both tries and added a penalty goal to see the Bulldogs up 14-8.

Auckland returned serve with two tries prior to halftime through Awen Guttenbeil and Lance Hohaia to lead 18-14 at the break. PJ Marsh was successful with the conversion of Hohaia's try after Jones missed two shots at goal and Hohaia one.

Hohaia scored his second try after the break as the Warriors gained firm control leading 24-14. The Bulldogs did mount a comeback when Matthew Utai scored with the final 15 minutes being a true arm wrestle. The Warriors held the advantage on the scoreboad and their advantage in size and mentally tolled at the end.

Canterbury lacked the size and aggression to match it with the Warriors up the middle and will be sweating on the return of defensive workhorse Steve Reardon next week. They also need to look at promoting aggressive young forwards Roy Asotasi and Glenn Hall to add some starch to the pack.

Auckland allowed Newcastle to comeback late in the match last week but this time held firm against the team they firmly hold the wood over.

Both teams should make the eight and no doubt the Warriors will be sweating on meeting the Bulldogs whereas the Bulldogs will be hoping to play teams like the Roosters in particular and Newcastle instead of the Warriors as strange as it seems.

Best for the Warriors were Hohaia and Monty Betham while captain Steve Price yet again stood tall for the Bulldogs.


Data provided by Clint Crofts