FLASHBACK FRIDAY: WARRIORS WIN FIRST CLASH WITH JOINT VENTURE

The Warriors’ record against St George Illawarra is appalling, winning just five of 26 encounters since the joint venture’s first season in 1999.

But the Auckland Warriors carved out an emphatic win in the club’s inaugural meeting at Mount Smart Stadium during that ’99 campaign.

Despite sitting well out of finals contention with four rounds remaining, the Mark Graham-coached Warriors powered to a 32-18 win over the playoffs-bound Dragons, scoring six tries to three.

The home side led 26-0 just two minutes after halftime, with the highlight a Nigel Vagana try set up by Australian hooker Robert Mears just before the break.

Saints winger Nathan Blacklock bagged a second-half double but the Warriors were never in danger of losing the match, which they sealed via a rare penalty try awarded to Cliff Beverley on the back of a long Vagana break.

Aussie imports Jason Death and skipper John Simon also starred in the comprehensive victory, outplaying big-name opposites Brad Mackay and Trent Barrett.

The result was the first of four straight wins as the Warriors came home with a wet sail in 1999, while the Dragons won five of their next six games to reach the grand final, where they went down to Melbourne 20-18 – ironically with a late penalty try to the Storm deciding the premiership.

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