Warriors v Roosters: Five key points
After the Roosters' courageous comeback to beat the Warriors 25-21 with a try in the final minute on Saturday night, here are five key points to come from the clash in Auckland.
The Roosters had to absorb a hammering in the first half, where they had just 40 per cent of possession and made 62 more tackles than their opponents.
Even early in the second period they faced a 20-6 deficit, only to fight back and ultimately earn a valuable victory on the road at a gusty Mt Smart Stadium.
Coach Trent Robinson said his side was full of confidence at half-time, given the way they had repelled the hosts, and knew possession would even up.
"It was a big performance coming over here with some new players coming in and guys in different positions," Robinson said.
"So yeah, a very courageous win.
"We were confident at half-time, we knew they had had a hell of a lot of ball, put a lot of pressure on us, but we were pretty good.
"I don't think we saw a poor reaction at all from the guys at any stage after any of the tries, they stuck on task… we knew we would get them at the back end."
Vatuvei's effort a 10 out of 10
After dotting down for his 145th career try in the first half Manu Vatuvei achieved a feat even Ken Irvine, Bob Fulton, Andrew Ettingshausen and Billy Slater can't claim.
The Warriors winger is the first player ever to score 10 tries across 10 consecutive seasons.
When asked about the achievement Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said it was something which might never be seen again.
"It's a shame that we couldn't get the points tonight and really celebrate that, because it is a huge achievement, a massive achievement," McFadden said.
"Whether it will ever be done again I don't know, but certainly it's something Manu should be really proud of, it's something were proud of as a club."
The man himself was a little less keen to make a fuss.
"I am just blessed to have reached that milestone and get the record, but like I always say I can't take all the credit for all those tries, the boys do a lot of work," Vatuvei said.
No blame for Wright after crucial drop
The game looked headed for golden point when Warrior-to-be Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pushed a 78th-minute field goal attempt wide to leave the scores tied at 21-all.
But then fill-in fullback Jonathan Wright made the decision to try and catch the ball – which looked set to travel over the dead-ball line and gift the Warriors a seven-tackle set – knocking it forward to giving the Roosters what proved to be the match-winning set.
Blake Ferguson crossed out wide just over a minute later, and the Warriors saw the two competition points go begging.
But after the match there was no blame being thrown in the direction of the veteran back.
"It was a key moment in the game, and they have probably been happening to us a bit this year for whatever reason, but we can't really hang Jono out to dry," McFadden said.
"He has been pretty solid for us all year and we are just going to have to absorb this one as a team."
Wright had previously made just eight errors in 10 games this season.
Young players deliver rocks and diamonds for Warriors
In the first half as the Warriors crossed for three tries in 12 minutes, 20-year-old backs Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata showcased everything there is to love about youthfulness in the Telstra Premiership.
The pair had a role to play in each of those tries, and were fearless and free in their targeting of the Roosters' right edge.
But just before half-time it was Kata's dropped ball which gifted the Roosters a set inside Warriors territory, before Lolohea failed to defuse the grubber which allowed Shaun Kenny-Dowall to score.
At full-time McFadden reflected on the inexperience of his team.
"We will get a lot of learning out of that when we look at the tape… I think we have got no less than six or seven players who have played less than a dozen games out there tonight, against a pretty experienced team," he said.
"It is a learning curve for us at the moment – we are learning the hard way – but I've still got a lot of faith in this group."
Killer Kiwis star in New Zealand return
With the third-highest Kiwi representation in the NRL the Roosters' New Zealanders celebrated their homecoming in style on Saturday night.
All four of their starting Kiwis – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Moa and Sio Siua Taukeiaho – ran for over 100 metres at Mt Smart Stadium, while Tuivasa-Sheck and Kenny-Dowall set up and scored a try respectively.
They all scored more than 35 points on the NRL Fantasy front as well, with Taukeiaho the Roosters' best, finishing up on 68 according to the game's live stats.