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The Warriors defeated the Panthers 30-16 at Centrebet Stadium in Round 14.
The visitors raced to a 12-nil lead inside the opening 20 minutes courtesy of a Manu Vatuvei try double – before the Panthers rallied to score three unanswered tries for shock 16-12 lead at halftime.
The Warriors opened the evening’s scoring in the seventh minute after Lachlan Coote spilled a bomb in his in-goal, with ‘The Beast’ seizing on the spoils for a gift four-pointer. The big winger bagged his second shortly after when he followed through to recover a Shaun Johnson grubber on the left edge.
Panthers fans breathed easier in the 26th minute when Josh Mansour grabbed an intercept to race 80 metres and post the home side’s first points. Hooker Kevin Kingson crossed on the half hour to level the scores, before Geoff Daniela grabbed them the lead after a right-side sweep five minutes from the break.
The Warriors edged ahead in the 53rd minute when Lachlan Coote’s handling woes continued, the fullback spilling a rushed pass from Luke Walsh on the last tackle that was scooped up by Konrad Hurrell for a try against the run of play. James Maloney made it 24-16 with 16 minutes on the clock when he punched through a hole from close range, before Kevin Locke scored under the posts in the final minute of a Feleti Mateo grubber kick assist.
The Warriors built their win on respecting possession throughout the wet night (83 per cent completions) and maximising second-phase play (12 offloads). Their best players were prop Ben Matulino, who powered through 22 hit-ups for 225 metres, and lock Mateo who made 22 carries plus four offloads and two try assists.
Winger Josh Mansour (211 metres, six tackle-breaks) tried hard in a beaten side.