NRL: NZ Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak faces suspension after sin-binning against Melbourne Storm

NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster may have to revamp his backline for their next outing against Gold Coast Titans, with injuries and suspensions looming.

After jumping out to an early 14-0 advantage, the Auckland-based NRL side slumped to a 38-24 defeat against competition leaders Melbourne Storm, extending a nine-year, 15-game winless streak against their rivals from across the Tasman.

Trailling just 20-18 early in the second half, they were rocked by back-to-back sin-binnings to wingers Marcelo Montoya and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, reducing them to 11 men for three minutes.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in action for the Warriors.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in action for the Warriors. Photo credit: Photosport

While defending shorthanded, the Warriors conceded two converted tries that took the contest out of their grasp.

Montoya's crime was a simple professional foul, so he escaped any subsequent action, but Watene-Zelezniak faces a Grade 2 Careless High Tackle charge for his reflex stiffarm against Storm counterpart Grant Anderson.

The charge carries a one-week suspension on early plea or two, if he fights the charge and loses.

As well as defending without both wingers from a few minutes, the Warriors also lost both centres, Rocco Berry and Adam Pompey, to injury.

Berry, who only recently returned from finger surgery, suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half, with veteran utility Dylan Walker slotting back into a position where he has played much of his career.

With five minutes remaining, Pompey provided a deft backhanded offload for Montoya to score his second try, but hobbled off the field immediately with a leg injury, replaced by second-rower Marata Niukore.

Pompey had slotted four of his five attempts at goal and after his departure, Chanel Harris-Tavita was successful with the sideline converstion to Montoya's try, bringing the Warriors within eight points.

The loss of either Rocco or Pompey would pave the way for former captain and Dally M Medal winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to return from a month-long hamstring niggle.

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