The Timaru Herald
Maumalo hat-trick in vain
The Warriors lost their 11th straight game against the Storm, going down 42-16 at Central Coast Stadium yesterday, while Chanel Harris-Tavita could be out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle and Ken Maumalo finished the game in tears after scoring a hat-trick.
There is supposed to be some sort of rivalry between these two teams, largely based around the Storm hosting the Warriors on Anzac Day each year. However, the lopsided results between these two sides is like saying the All Blacks are foes with Canada.
Harris-Tavita picked up his injury late in the first half and if it’s as bad as initially thought, the halfback won’t play again in 2022, and it will be either Reece Walsh or Sean O’Sullivan in the halves with Kodi Nikorima for the remainder of the campaign.
The Storm, along with the Panthers are one of the best teams in the NRL this season and look destined to make another grand final.
For the Warriors, just finishing in the top eight would make it a successful campaign and their next three games, against the Knights, Dragons and Sharks will be far more season defining.
Wests Tigers-bound Maumalo got to play a final game for the Warriors, making a surprise return to the wing, with Marcelo Montoya moving to centre to replace the injured Rocco Berry.
Maumalo will sign with the Tigers in the next couple of days and thought his time playing in Warriors colours was over. But when Berry picked up an injury in Saturday’s captain’s run, Maumalo asked Warriors coach Nathan Brown if he could make a swan song appearance and Brown consented.
It was a risky move because if Maumalo picked up a serious injury, the deal with the Tigers would have been cancelled, along with the Warriors’ hopes of picking up Dallin Watene-Zelezniak from the Bulldogs this week.
However, Maumalo ended up scoring a hat-trick and needed to be consoled by his team-mates after the last try, knowing that his time at the club he’d spent all of his career at had come to an end.
Both teams started the game making errors, but in the ninth minute the Warriors were given a penalty after Brandon Smith knocked the ball out of Nikorima’s hands as he was about to play the ball and the fiveeighth then took the shot at goal to give his team the early lead.
Nicho Hynes squared the scores up in similar fashion six minutes later, but the game didn’t come to life until the 23rd minute when the Storm attacked down their right edge, found a gap in the defence and Dean Ieremia finished off the try scoring move.
In the 28th minute the Storm capitalised from the Warriors conceding a penalty, to move into good territory, with Smith going in low close to the line and all of a sudden they had built themselves a handy lead.
Five minutes before the break, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made a try saving tackle on Ieremia, stopping the young winger from grounding the ball over the line.
However, while they were great plays, momentum didn’t go anywhere and Josh Addo-Carr picked up the Storm’s third try two minutes before the break.
Jahrome Hughes, who the Warriors were hoping to sign earlier this season, scored the opening try of the second half, while there were further fourpointers for Justin Olam, Harry Grant and Tom Eisenhuth.