Rugby League

Warriors rally to upset Panthers in dramatic fashion

May 19, 2024 4:50 pm

[Source: NRL]

It was far from convincing and at times perhaps even downright ugly, but the Warriors’ courageous 22-20 victory over the Panthers on Sunday will go down as one of the club’s most impressive triumphs.

Already without a spate of frontline players due to injury, including star half Shaun Johnson, the Kiwi side lost influential hooker Wayde Egan to a failed HIA on 12 minutes and had to twice come from behind against the reigning premiers in Brisbane.

Facing the prospect of a heart-breaking fifth-straight defeat as they trailed by four with 10 to play, backup fullback Taine Tuaupiki scored and converted to give his side a two-point lead, before the against-all-odds victory was confirmed when Dylan Edwards pushed a late penalty goal wide.

Article continues after advertisement

The Warriors made the worst start possible by kicking out on the full and giving up a try to Edwards before they’d even touched the ball and it only got worse when Egan was ruled out a short time later.

When they managed to score and even things up midway through the first half it had a negative attached to it, with Marcelo Montoya picking up a head knock as he crossed, although he was later cleared to return.

With the Panthers up by six at the break, the sin-binning of Isaah Yeo three minutes into the second half for a professional foul was the first turning point and on the very next set Ali Leiataua crossed for his first try at NRL level, which Tuaupiki converted to tie scores again.

After a quiet first half Te Maire Martin was at it again a short time later, laying on his second assist in five minutes to put Adam Pompey over and give his side the lead for the first time.

Once back to their full complement the Panthers seemed to find their mojo, with Yeo strolling through a yawning gap before Izack Tago made the Warriors pay for a glut of penalties and six again infringements.

But the Warriors weren’t to be beaten on this day, with Tuaupiki’s late six points giving the club their first win in six games.