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Knock-On Effect NSW Cup: Dragons fall to Warriors in hard-fought affair

The Dragons were unable to come out on top of Warriors going down 18-4 in their Knock-On Effect NSW Cup encounter at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium on Saturday.

A tightly contested opening forty saw the visitors take a 4-0 lead into the break before an unconventional Warriors try from inside their own half in their opening set of the second half proved a sign of things to come with the hosts pouring on three unanswered tries to run away with it.

Teenage half Lyhkan King-Togia continued his strong run of form since making the leap up to Knock-On Effect NSW Cup level making an impression on both sides of the ball despite the loss.

Jackson Shereb skied to swallow a short dropout and relieve the Dragons of an early spate of pressure with Fa’amanu Brown held up over the line down the other end off the back of it as the visitors remained in search of their first points.

Second rower Maia Sands went close to nabbing first points for the hosts only to spill the bouncing ball short of the chalk before Makaia Tafua was held up over the line in a burrowing attempt out of hooker.

Taine Tuaupiki slid into the backfield soon after only to be brought down by his opposite Savelio Tamale as the clash remained scoreless a quarter of the way through.

King-Togia crafted a number of half-opportunities for the Red V down the left-hand corridor linking with his back rower Dan Russell on several occasions.

First blood was finally drawn through Russell who spun over off a fifth-tackle Connor Muhleisen crash ball to make it 4-0 a little under a half-hour in.

The injection of Viliami Fifita saw the visitors garner some ascendancy with Tamale going close to crossing off his own grubber soon after only for ball to go to ground.

The Warriors were the beneficiaries of an unorthodox, midfield bomb in their opening set of the second half with Eddie Ieremia-Toeava steaming through to take in the ball off a horror bounce and find Moala Graham-Taufa who raced away with it to give the hosts their first lead.

A Fifita bone-rattler forced the ball loose to earn the Dragons possession back soon after, but the Dragons were unable to capitalise off the back of it.

A string of penalties put the hosts back on the attack with Graham-Taufa scurrying out of dummy-half to find his second as a result and extend their advantage to eight.

King-Togia’s superb afternoon continued with the five-eighth pulling a beautiful cover effort around the bootlaces to halt a break before diving on the unattended play-the-ball to earn possession back the way of the visitors.

Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Highlights: Round 16

Five-eighth Ben Farr was the next to find his way over however to make it an imposing Warriors lead with 15 minutes on the clock.

Luke Hansen was denied a late try for the hosts due to an obstruction, but it mattered little with the Warriors holding on for a handy victory.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons 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 Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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