Hooker Siliva Havili extended his try-scoring run with a double to help the Vodafone Junior Warriors move to second on the ladder after their 34-10 victory over Brisbane in Saturday night’s ninth-round clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The 19-year-old scored the first and last of his side’s six tries to lift his tally to 10 this year – six of them in the last four matches – and 19 in 36 matches since his impressive debut last year.
While the 98kg powerhouse’s second try from close range was typical of many of his tries, his first was a stunning effort from 45 metres out.
Backing up their comeback win against Melbourne on Anzac Day, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were solid in a tough encounter, leading 18-6 at halftime.
The victory had special merit because the Vodafone Junior Warriors had to function without fullback Omar Slaimankhel who was forced off early with a hamstring injury. But, in his absence, starting winger Peta Hiku again filled in well with a game-high 196 metres from 16 runs.
Their big men – and they have a lot of them – were outstanding. Starting props Ligi Sao and Siulongoua Fotofili were impressive with Sao carrying the ball 19 times for 157 metres (plus 32 tackles) and Fotofili 11 for 125. Then coming off the bench the huge Toka Likiliki was almost unstoppable with 162 metres from 11 runs as well as 11 tackle breaks and two line breaks while Albert Vete made 104 metres from 12 runs and Simi Kata 107 from 10.
Loose forward David Bhana again excelled topping the game’s tackle stats with 54 tackles and also making more than 100 metres from 10 runs.