Manly edge Johnson-less Warriors
The Manly Sea Eagles upset hometown side the New Zealand Warriors 15-11 to open their account in game 4 of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
A late try to Curtis Sironen, coupled with a final minute goal-line stand in defence, saw the Sea Eagles get home.
The Warriors were without star halfback Shaun Johnson who was injured in the warm-up.
"I don't know if I'd call it an injury," Johnson said on the TV broadcast.
"Just pulled up a bit tight.
"I'll warm up again and see how I go. I just want to be out there, I love the tournament."
After a glut of possession to start the match Manly eventually broke through via Dylan Walker on five minutes but at the end of a first half where there were more spills of the football than thrills with it, with scores locked at 4-4 thanks to Sam Cook's 40-metre effort just before the buzzer.
Former Warrior Jonathan Wright gave the Sea Eagles the lead once again early in the second, but on the next set Blake Ayshford spun out of a would-be tackle on halfway to score a 50-metre bonus zone try.
Sironen went over for what turned out to be match-winner inside the final three minutes, but Manly still had to survive a late scare as Warriors hooker Mason Lino looked to have crossed in the final minute only to be ruled to have knocked the ball on in the process of touching down under the posts.
Sea Eagles 15 (Dylan Walker, Jonathan Wright, Curtis Sironen tries; 1 goal) def. Warriors 11 (Sam Cook, Blake Ayshford tries; 1 goal.) Half-time: 4-4.