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The Warriors are into the Auckland Nines semi-finals after defeating the Raiders in the quarter-finals.

A late Canberra fightback never seriously threatened the home side's charge to the next round after the Warriors opened the match with four unanswered tries in a 16-8 win.

It's taken some time to get used to the cheers but Blake Ayshford is finally feeling comfortable in a Warriors jumper.

"I didn't look too good after the first games [on Saturday] considering the performances I came up with but it's been good," Ayshford told

"I think I was a bit nervous too. I'm used to 50,000 people booing me, not cheering me so it's been good."


"We have known we have had to take it game by game and keep the ball rolling. Hopefully we can keep going. Momentum is coming for us."

A Shaun Johnson cut-out pass sent Jono Wright over for the first try of the game and Blake Ayshford almost earned the second with a great solo run down the left. Instead the Warriors sent the ball right after he was tackled where Solomone Kata did well to blitz through the Raiders defence.

The Warriors got the kick-off back and when Johnson held up a beautiful pass for Kata's second the crowd could smell blood at 12-0 at the break.

Johnson easily found touch with the second half kick-off to pile the pressure on and a nasty bounce from a Ryan Hoffman grubber kick wrong-footed Canberra and allowed Henare Wells to score.

A line break from Kurt Baptiste sent Zac Santo on an unobstructed run to the line with three and a half minutes to go and a Sam Williams kick to the wing handed Jordan Rapana a four-pointer with a minute remaining but the fightback was too late to stop the Warriors advancing to the semi finals.

Raiders utility Jordan Rapana said any team would have beaten them in the quarters considering the lack of possession.

"The Warriors are definitely a hard team to play against and obviously the favourites but to make it to the quarters is good I guess," Rapana told 

"They just had the ball too much. Any team would've come away with the win. We did well with the ball once we had it but by then it was too late."

"I was happy with how I went though, this is my first Nines tournament so I was pretty glad to get out there and get a taste of it. It was real enjoyable and I'd like to come back next year."

New Zealand Warriors 16 (Kata 2, Wright, Wells tries) def. Canberra Raiders 8 (Santo, Rapana tries).


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