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Wests Tigers have gone down in their final pool match of the 2015 Auckland Nines 22-8 to the New Zealand Warriors in front of a strong crowd at Eden Park.

However, due to impressive results on Day One, Jason Taylor's men still finish on top of the Hunua Pool on for-and-against, and will play either the Sydney Roosters or the Cronulla Sharks in the quarterfinals (depending on other results).

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Manu Vatuvei opened the scoring for the hosts in the first minute of play, despite their being some question marks about whether the winger had put his foot into touch.

Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson was unable to add the extras from the sideline, though, and the score remained 4-0 in favour of Andrew McFadden's side.

After a great long-range kick from Josh Drinkwater and chase from Kevin Naiqama, Jason Taylor's men got their first attacking chance at the Warriors' line, and they soon leveled the match as Chris Lawrence acrobatically planted the ball down out wide.

Tim Simona pushed the conversion from out wide to leave the scoreline at 4-4.

The hosts would soon hit back, though, with 2014 Jack Gibson Medal winner Solomone Kata bursting down the sideline to put the ball down narrowly inside the corner post.

Johnson's second missed conversion would see the score remain 8-4, which is how it would read at half-time despite a frantic finish to the half from both teams.

After a controversial strip-call to start the second half, the Warriors extended their lead in the 10th minute when Tuimoala Lolohea collected an offload to score next to the posts. Forward Ben Henry would do the same shortly after, with Johnson's conversion seeing the hosts scoot out to a 18-4 lead with just over six minutes of play remaining. 

2014 NYC Hooker of the Year Manaia Cherrington reduced the margin in the 13th minute with a darting run out of dummy half close to the line, but his effort was canceled out by Kata's second effort as he showed too much speed down the sideline.

That saw the score read 22-8, which is how it would remain at full-time — guaranteeing that Wests Tigers would finish on top of the Hunua Pool on for-and-against.


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Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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