NZ Warriors show finals form in victory against Panthers
THE Warriors have jumped into the top eight for the first time this season, downing Penrith 30-20 at Mt Smart Stadium yesterday.
Looking every bit a finals contender, the home side raced to a 12-0 lead after tries to block-busting backs Konrad Hurrell and Manu Vatuvei.
But as they do so often, the Warriors found themselves exposed once the Panthers got a fair share of the football.
Repeat sets put the visitors within close range before Jamie Soward ducked through the middle of the ruck to score their first try.
That was quickly followed by another repeat set that allowed winger Josh Mansour to claim the Panthers' second after a good pass from the recalled Jamal Idris.
The Panthers then went into half-time leading 16-12 after a cleverly-placed grubber from Peter Wallace saw fullback Matt Moylan score.
But the Warriors' defence has let in an average of just four points in the second half under new coach Andrew McFadden, and that impressive statistic continued yesterday.
At the same time, tries to Simon Mannering, a second to Hurrell and a 52m intercept effort by Shaun Johnson was enough to get the Aucklanders the points at home.