Warriors women run hot and cold in trial win over Auckland
The "same game, our way" is the calling card of the shiny new NRL Holden Women's Premiership but it seems the memo hasn't yet reached the New Zealand Warriors.
Instead, Luisa Avaiki's trailblazing side displayed the infamous DNA of their male counterparts - thoroughly entertaining one minute, worryingly stretched the next – in a 32-4 win over Auckland in their maiden outing on Friday night.
Avaiki won't be disappointed about the six tries to one result in an entertaining curtain-raiser to the Warriors-Knights NRL clash, highlighted by a 12-point contribution from fullback Apii Nicolls, including a late first-half try.
After leading 26-0 at half-time, the Warriors were fully stretched by Auckland's massive pack and even bigger bench, narrowly winning the second half 6-4 – but only on the scoreboard.
The match was the Warriors women's first hit-out in the lead-up to the inaugural women's premiership involving the Broncos, St George Illawarra and the Roosters next month.
Nicholls, try-scoring winger Langi Veainu and halfback Laura Marui showed the Warriors have an attacking edge while Avaiki got some commendable second-half defence across the field with her side seriously under the pump for almost the entire second half.
Centre Amber Kani created history by becoming the club's first female try-scorer, dotting down after a simple backline move in the fifth minute.
Tanika-Jazz Nobel-Bell's try three minutes later came courtesy of a great off-load from prop Annetta-Clauida Nuuausala while halfback captain Laura Mariu showed great vision with a punt that Nicholls ran onto unimpeded to score her try.
It wasn't all one-way traffic with Auckland's bigger forwards giving their opponents a decent workout in defence.
Lorina Papli'i, the mother of Warriors second-rower Isaiah, will feel all of her 41 years after twice being hit in massive tackles, the latter a spectacular double team from Auckland lock Awhina Marsh and interchange prop Amber Paris Hall that sent the back-rower hurtling back towards her own goal line.