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Throwback Thursday: Wests Tigers vs Warriors

This weekend, the NRL will return to New Zealand for the first time in three years as Wests Tigers travel across the Tasman to face the Warriors on Sunday Afternoon.

The last first grade match at Mt Smart Stadium was played in Round 24 of 2019, and the joint-venture has not played at the venue since 2018.

Warriors fans at Mount Smart for their last home game against Souths in 2019
Warriors fans at Mount Smart for their last home game against Souths in 2019

Mt Smart Stadium has produced mixed results for Wests Tigers over the years, with the club winning three of their last six matches against the Warriors at the ground.

As the team embarks on their trip across the ditch, we’re partnering with Boomer Home Loans to take a look at two of the club’s most memorable clashes against the Warriors in Auckland.

While both sides are struggling to find consistency in 2022, the Warriors and Wests Tigers were entrenched in the finals race when they met in 2011.

Halfback Robert Lui got the visitors away to a fast start by firing a cutout pass that allowed Blake Ayshford to cross for the opening try.

The Warriors soon hit back with tries to Krisnan Inu and Kevin Locke, before the flood gates opened for the home side as Shaun Johnson and Manu Vatuvei combined for three unanswered tries.

Down by eighteen points with eighteen minutes remaining, Gareth Ellis provided a much needed spark by producing an incredible flick pass assist to Benji Marshall.

Former Warrior Wade McKinnon then rose above the defence to claim a Marshall bomb, before Blake Ayshford bust through the defence and sent Benji away to level the scores with nine minutes left on the clock.

With Golden Point appearing likely, Tim Sheens’ side marched downfield and once more gave the ball to their Kiwi wizard. 

Marshall fended one defender away and produced a floating pass to Beau Ryan, who planted the ball in the corner to complete a remarkable comeback victory.

The tenth-placed Wests Tigers travelled to Auckland in 2016 for a critical clash against the ninth-placed Warriors in the penultimate round of the season.

Former Tiger Bodene Thompson crossed for the first try of the afternoon before Aaron Woods hit back with an assist to Sauaso Sue and a try of his own.

Woods’ efforts were quickly negated by back-to-back tries from Solomona Kata and Simon Mannering, and Jason Taylor’s men would have conceded a third unanswered try if it wasn’t for a desperate defensive effort from Kevin Naiqama.

In the second half, Josh Addo-Carr utilised his trademark pace to level the scores with a long-distance effort, but the resilient Warriors refused to go away and soon hit the front once more.

However, Wests Tigers were not about to let their finals chances slip. Mitchell Moses put Sauaso Sue through a gap to complete a rare double before he stepped past several defenders and used every centimetre of his reach to slam the ball down on the try line.

Kevin Naiqama latched onto a grubber kick for one final try that ended the Warriors season and ensured that his side would have the chance to make the finals if they could beat the Raiders at home in Round 26.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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