Ahead of the Warriors’ Round 15 clash with the Cowboys and their likely last-ever encounter with Johnathan Thurston, Flashback Friday revisits a fond farewell for one of their greatest-ever players.
The Round 26, 2011 clash between the Warriors and Cowboys at Mount Smart Stadium doubled as veteran utility Lance Hohaia’s home send-off before heading to Super League.
The match carried huge importance in the context of the finals picture, with the teams effectively in a shootout for sixth spot on the ladder.
Ten-season stalwart Hohaia, who had starred in the halves and at fullback in previous years, found a dummy-half niche during 2011, providing spark off the bench for the surging Warriors.
And the Auckland faithful received the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the ‘Huntly Hurricane’ as he backed up a 60-metre movement featuring James Maloney and Simon Mannering to score a fairytale try.
Hohaia’s 56th try in his 181st game for the club proved crucial, helping the Warriors to a 12-6 halftime lead in a tense encounter.
The Warriors grafted out an 18-6 victory to clinch sixth spot, which had major implications for the weeks that followed.
In the last season the maligned McIntyre Finals System was used, both teams lost in week one, but while seventh-placed Cowboys were eliminated, the Warriors got another bite at the cherry and went all the way to the grand final – with the ‘Huntly Hurricane’ at the forefront.