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Match Report: Pre-season Challenge vs Warriors

Wests Tigers have started their 2024 campaign with an 18-16 victory in their first trial match against the New Zealand Warriors.

In front of a near full house in Christchurch, Wests Tigers took an early lead and never trailed as they held on for the win against a fast-finishing Warriors outfit.

Skipper Api Koroisau continued his strong form from last season by setting up the first try of the afternoon with a cutout pass to Alex Seyfarth.

The Warriors quickly hit back through second rower Jacob Laban before new recruits Aidan Sezer and Jayden Sullivan linked up to retake the lead.

After running to the line, Sullivan put Solomona Faataape into space, who passed to an unmarked Sezer on his inside.

Warriors prop Zyon Maiu’u was given his marching orders in the 19th minute after a forceful high tackle on young centre Declan Casey.   Casey was forced from the field on the medicab and then taken to hospital for scans.

Both sides then struggled to find their attacking rhythm for the remainder of the half, with the visitors holding their six point lead until the break.

Wests Tigers prop Samuela Fainu was placed on report and given ten minutes in the sin bin following a high tackle to open the second half.

With many of the starters replaced for both sides, Benji Marshall’s men survived Fainu’s sanction and extended their lead off the back of a spectacular aerial effort from Alex Lobb.

Lobb rose high above two Warriors defenders to claim a bomb before finding Wests Tigers’ 2023 Jersey Flegg Player of the Year Sione Vaihu on his inside.

A pair of tries to Paul Roache and Setu Tu allowed the Warriors to draw within two points with fifteen minutes remaining.

Despite a late scare, Wests Tigers held the home side scoreless for the remainder of the match to secure fourteen points in the Pre-season Challenge and move to equal-third on the ladder.

Wests Tigers will now travel to Mudgee, where they will face the Dragons at Glen Willow Oval next Saturday.

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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