NRL 2020: NZ Warriors finish season with eight-try romp over Manly Sea Eagles

Adam Keighran's hat-trick, and try doubles to Patrick Herbert and Eliesa Katoa have paced NZ Warriors to a season-ending 40-28 romp over Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast.

Victory sees the Aucklanders climb to 10th on the NRL ladder with eight wins and 12 losses, after challenging for a playoff spot up to two weeks ago. 

The result completes what seemed like a never-ending road trip, with the Warriors were obliged to base themselves across the Tasman since May, to keep the competition intact during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Veteran forward Adam Blair called drew the curtain on his 331-game NRL career, consolidating his status as the highest-capped Kiwi player in competition history.

Manly burst out of the blocks to run up an early 10-0 lead, with tries to Reuben Garrick and Corey Waddell, but the Warriors rattled on the next five tries unanswered to seize control of the contest.

Kodi Nikorima chased an innocuous-looking kick from Chanel Harris-Tavita to open their scoring, before Eliesa Katoa, Keighran, Patrick Herbert and then Katoa again crossed to build a 26-14 halftime lead.

Manly winger Abbas Miski scored either side of the break to give his side a sniff, but Keighran's second and third efforts put the game out of reach for the Sea Eagles, and Herbert's second provided the icing on the cake.

As is the custom, Blair was afforded the final conversion attempt to close his career, but hooked it.

The outcome also ends Todd Payten's successful stint as interim Warriors coach, before he heads to the North Queensland lead role next season. After taking over the reigns from Stephen Kearney, Payten steered the side to six wins from 14 games.

Warriors 40 (Nikorima, Keighran 3, Herbert 2 & Katoa 2 tries; Harris-Tavita 4 conversions) Manly 28 (Parker, Garrick, Miski 2, Paseka & Waddell tries; Garrick 2 conversions)