Warriors snatch thrilling Toyota Cup decider
The Warriors have won their second straight NYC Premiership, defeating the Cowboys 31-30 in a golden point thriller at ANZ Stadium.
Halfback Jordan Meads was the hero, slotting a field goal on his first attempt in extra time after halves partner Carlos Tuimavave made a huge charge through the middle of the field to get the Warriors within range.
The Warriors didn’t hesitate in getting him the ball to Meads either, as he snapped the shot on the first tackle after Tuimavave’s break.
The Warriors made it hard for themselves though, conceding a late flurry of tries after leading 30-16 with just ten minutes remaining.
Two late tries to Zac Santo nearly won it for the Cowboys, and it appeared they had the match in their grasp when Chris Grevsmuhl bagged his second of the afternoon in the 80th minute. However Kyle Feldt missed what should have been a relatively easy conversion, the pressure clearly getting to the Cowboys winger.
The Warriors had earlier taken what appeared to be an unassailable 14-point lead thanks to second half tries to Dylan Collier and Konrad Hurrell.
First, Collier finished off a sweeping backline movement that saw Sosaia Feki throw an amazing flick pass to find his winger inside and put him over the line to extend the Warriors lead out to eight points and their biggest of the match at that stage.
It then took little time for the Warriors to take advantage of a controversial call from referee Luke Phillips, when it appeared it should have been a Warriors’ line drop out after Kyle Feldt batted the ball back, but it was ruled a knock on.
The Warriors would go the length of the field from the ensuing set of six with Konrad Hurrell getting his second of the game in the corner with the Cowboys still looking bemused over the previous call.
From there the Cowboys pushed hard to get back into the match and when Zac Santo crossed to cut the lead to eight in the 73rd minute and then again in the 77th minute a grandstand finish was assured.
The Warriors led the match from the 17 minute mark, despite an initial scoring spree from the Cowboys down 10-0 after ten minutes.
Tries to Moses Pangai and John Koko got the Cowboys off to a big start to the game. When Koko scored on just the second play of the game , with Felise Kaufusi busting the Warriors line to put Wayne Ulugia into a yawning gap, it looked like an upset of Sam Lousi size proportions could have been on the cards.
It wasn't long before the Warriors answered the challenge though, with halfback Meads showing great acceleration to beat Ulugia who appeared to have him covered in defence.
The Warriors then took the lead after Dylan Collier strode through some very lax Cowboys defence on their own line to level, before converting his own try to send the Warriors up 12-10.
It wasn't just the Cowboys who were weak on their own line with the Warriors conceding a soft try to Chris Grevsmuhl at the 23 minute mark to rest back the lead in a fast-paced and attacking affair, with Kyle Feldt converting to give the Cowboys a 16-12 lead.
The Warriors looked to have a huge chance again when Ulungia dropped a bomb only for Carlos Tuimavave to fail to take advantage of the renewed tackle count, grubbering ahead for himself on the zero tackle.
Not that it mattered too much as Konrad Hurrel would crash over with six minutes left in the first half to lock the scores back up at 16 all.
The Warriors would then go sideline-to-sideline at the end of the first half with Adam Henry finishing off a swift backline movement to score in the corner and give the Warriors a 20-16 lead at the break.
Warriors 31 defeated Cowboys 30
Warriors: Collier 2, Hurrell 2, Meads, Henry tries; Collier 3/6 goals: Meads field goal.
Cowboys: Santo 2, Grevsmuhl 2, Koko, Pangai tries: Feldt 3/6 goals.