The Warriors have continued life on the road with a loss to the Raiders on the Gold Coast, while Melbourne got past Cronulla and Manly kept the Sydney Roosters winless in their NRL premiership defence.
Warriors fall to Raiders during Aussie road trip
A tough week only worsened for a gutsy Warriors outfit after they lost 20-6 to Canberra in their relocated match at the Gold Coast’s empty home stadium in Robina.
New Zealand’s Warriors agreed on Friday to stay in Australia and continue playing for as long as the competition continued — while they are away from their families — amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Raiders were not interested in showing mercy, piling on three second-half tries to clinch a second-straight win before flying back to the nation’s capital in a hit-and-run Gold Coast visit.
The Warriors slumped to a 0-2 season start for the first time since 2016.
Boosted by the injury returns of star trio, Jarrod Croker, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Josh Hodgson, the Raiders soaked up the Queensland heat to jump to a 2-0 season start for just the second time since the 2006 season.
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But the Raiders did not have it all their own way against a Warriors side who tried to put a nightmare lead-up behind them.
They faced an uncertain future after the New Zealand Government announced all arrivals into the country would be required to undergo a 14-day self-isolation period.
The ruling left the Warriors needing to remain in Australia after their 20-0 round-one loss to Newcastle or drop out and leave the competition with 15 teams.
Australia’s new border laws, which kicked in from Friday night, prevented non-citizens entering the country and residents returning (without 14 days’ isolation) during the coronavirus pandemic, effectively locking out numerous families.
Warriors officials initially believed that could spell the end of the team’s time in Australia, but the players met on Friday and decided they were in for the long haul despite facing the prospect of staying away from their families indefinitely.
The Warriors started the match full of intent, with Lachlan Burr crossing after Croker spilt a kick in the seventh minute only for the video referee to disallow the try, ruling the Raiders skipper had been tackled in the air.
The Raiders finally managed to get on top to lead 6-0 at half-time after a scrappy first term.
They led 16-0 early in the second half, however the Warriors showed plenty of character to stay in the fight and finally had a break in the 75th minute when Kodi Nikorima was awarded a penalty try after George Williams obstructed the try-bound utility.
Storm score late win over Sharks
Melbourne and Cronulla returned to their gritty best, as the Storm ground out a 12-10 win at Kogarah Jubilee Stadium.
The Sharks led 4-2 at half-time and the match did not come alive until the final 20 minutes.
A converted Tui Kamikamica try next to the posts in the 71st minute levelled the scores at 10-10 to set up a tense finish.
And with just four minutes on the clock, talented Sharks utility Billy Magoulias gave away a penalty and Cameron Smith calmly kicked between the sticks to make sure the Storm remain unbeaten from two matches this season.
Both teams had slotted two penalty goals, before Magoulias broke the match open after a dogfight throughout the first 60 minutes.
Harking back to the traditional arm-wrestle battles between the two clubs, scores were locked at 4-4 when Sharks full-back Will Kennedy found some space around the ruck and made a break through the middle of the field.
Kennedy was brought down within a few metres of Storm’s line and in the next play, dummy half Blayke Brailey’s grubber kick found Magoulias next to the posts for the first try of the contest.
It was also the first try the Storm had conceded this season after holding out Manly at Brookvale Oval in round one.
Cherry-Evans ices Sea Eagles’ win over Roosters
Daly Cherry-Evans reasserted his status as the NRL’s coolest head under pressure to help Manly to a clutch 9-8 win over the Sydney Roosters at Leichhardt Oval.
In a high-quality match played in front of around 25 people watching from neighbouring roofs and a nearby scaffold, Cherry-Evans won the contest for the Sea Eagles with just four minutes left on the clock.
The result gave the Roosters the worst start to a season by a defending premier in 11 years, as they went 0-2 after also losing last week to Penrith.
The Roosters had dominated the territorial battle all match, with Manly getting just eight tackles inside its 20-metre zone.
The Roosters also had their chance to win the match, when a Luke Keary field goal shot from right in front swung into the left-hand upright.
But the match swung late when Lachlan Croker crunched James Tedesco in a tackle, forcing an error from the Roosters full-back.
Manly worked it down the middle from the ensuing set, before Cherry-Evans iced the match.
It marked the 21st field goal of Cherry-Evans’s career, the most of any current player in the competition.