NRL: NZ Warriors' attack fires in high-scoring pre-season victory over Dolphins

NZ Warriors have completed their pre-season with a Jekyll and Hyde performance against the Dolphins.  

While brilliant on attack, the Warriors' discipline at times threatened to undo their hard work.  

The Kiwi outfit ran in six tries, but conceded four in reply, and gave away 10 penalties to zero, as hooker Wayde Egan was placed on report for a crusher tackle. 

Marcelo Montoya scores against the Dolphins.
Marcelo Montoya scores against the Dolphins. Photo credit: Getty Images

But with just under two weeks until they begin their NRL campaign, there is plenty of time for the Warriors to iron out the kinks as they look to repeat their heroics of 2023.   

After Webster named as close to his strongest starting side as possible, the Warriors got as close to the perfect tune-up as possible, as they prepare to host Cronulla Sharks on March 8.  

Surviving an early chance that saw Jeremy Marshall-King squander the opportunity to give the Dolphins the lead, the Warriors struck first when Luke Metcalf sent Marcelo Montoya over in the left corner.  

Five minutes later, the Warriors doubled their lead through Mitch Barnett, after Kurt Capewell marked his first appearance for the club with a scything run from dummy half, after the Dolphins failed to hold him in the tackle. 

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continues to impress at centre.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continues to impress at centre. Photo credit: Photosport

And as the Dolphins surged forward in the hope of getting on the scoreboard, a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak intercept try extended the advantage to 18-0.  

Dolphins centre Jake Averillo at the very least saw his side score before halftime, but the hosts' attacking blitz saw the Warriors holding all the cards at halftime.   

Seemingly backed as a first-choice centre after the return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Rocco Berry justified his place in the No.3 jersey, after a Shaun Johnson short ball sent him over for the Warriors' fourth.   

As both sides made changes to give their extended benches a run, the Dolphins added a second through winger Jack Bostock, who beat rookie centre Ali Leiataua in the air to latch onto Kodi Nikorima's kick.  

After Johnson's exit, Metcalf had a second assist to send Marata Niukore over as he bids to claim the No.6 jersey over Te Maire Martin and Chanel Harris-Tavita to start the season.   

However, the Warriors' discipline cost them in the second half.   

After a penalty inside their own half, centre pairing Tesi Niu and Herbie Farnworth combined on the left flank to bring the score back to 30-18.

Another penalty, given away after Egan's crusher on Bromwich, saw the Dolphins get their fourth through Valynce Te Whare.  

But inside the final 10 minutes, and needing to score twice, a Felise Kaufusi knock-on realistically ended the Dolphins' hopes of a comeback victory.  

And when a Tuivasa-Sheck offload put Leiataua over for the Warriors' sixth, Webster could breathe a sigh of relief as his side finished pre-season with a victory. 

Warriors 34 (Montoya, Barnett, Watene-Zelezniak, Berry, Niukore, Leiataua tries; Johnson 4, Metcalf conversions)  

Dolphins 22 (Averillo, Bostock, Farnworth, Te Whare tries; Nikorima, Isaako, Katoa conversions)