Warriors v Tigers: Five key points
In his 200th Telstra Premiership game Manu Vatuvei got his dream result, scoring a double as the Warriors beat the Tigers 32-22 at Mt Smart Stadium. Here are five key points to come from Saturday night's match.
Warriors take the difficult road again
After leading 20-6 after half an hour, and with almost every stat favouring them, the Warriors should have been able to close the Tigers out of the contest and record a comfortable win.
Instead they leaked tries just before and after the break, allowing their opponents to get within two points of tying it up.
In the end the tries to Vatuvei and back-rower Bodene Thompson ensured there would be no embarrassing collapse, but post match both Andrew McFadden and Shaun Johnson admitted to feeling some nerves in the final quarter.
"Yeah we made it hard for ourselves at the end there," McFadden said.
"You always get a little nervous there."
Johnson was even clearer in his appraisal.
"We certainly don't make it easy for ourselves," he said.
"We are scoring enough points, but those errors at key times could have put us in a really bad spot.
"It's hard not to be nervous with a side like the Tigers."
Woods wins battle of the Dally M leaders
Heading into Round 6 a couple of unlikely names sat atop the Dally M leaderboard.
Front-rowers Aaron Woods and Ben Matulino shared the lead with seven votes each and went head-to-head on Saturday night in the middle of the park.
With 20 runs for 196 metres and 33 tackles Woods managed to one-up his Kiwi rival, who finished the night with a not-to-be-sneezed-at 158 metres off 18 runs and 33 tackles himself.
But considering Matulino finished the game as part of the winning side it's unlikely Woods will be celebrating too much on the way back to Sydney.
NRL players still get starstruck
He might be a famous sportsman in his own right these days, but Shaun Johnson couldn't hide his excitement when rugby union legend Jonah Lomu entered the field at fulltime.
The giant former All Black was Vatuvei's idol growing up and came along at the club's request to present the Kiwi winger with a framed photo of him and his daughters, in recognition of his 200th appearance.
"Oh man, that was a buzz," Johnson said of meeting Lomu.
"I grew up a rugby league fan but everyone knew Jonah Lomu growing up. I saw him and I actually flipped out… I ran and stood right next to him [for a photo]."
Warriors go the extra mile for their milestone man
The effort which went into getting the aforementioned framed photo perhaps sums up perfectly what Manu Vatuvei means to the New Zealand Warriors.
The club snapped the pic of Vatuvei running out onto the field against the Tigers, before racing across Auckland to get it printed and framed in time to present it to him minutes after the final siren.
The gesture and overall reception for Vatuvei throughout the week surprised even coach McFadden.
"I have been overwhelmed and surprised about how much Manu really means here," he said.
"I knew internally but across New Zealand the support he has got this week has been huge."
Jason Taylor looking at the bright side
Auckland is a long way to travel and come back with nothing but battered and bruised bodies, but Tigers coach Taylor was optimistic about his side's showing on Saturday night.
The Tigers recovered well after falling victim to a Warriors' point-scoring blitz in the first period, drawing to within two points before ultimately being edged out.
They battled on with less possession, twice the number of penalties blown against them and a missed tackle count double their opposition's, something Taylor saw as a positive to take from the trip.
"That was a massive test for us tonight and there was a little period before half-time which we didn't handle and are disappointed about, but across the course of the game the guys did really well," he said.
"In the second half we did some great stuff. They were the better team, they weren't the better team for 80 minutes though."