The Warriors have warmed up for the inaugural NRL Women’s Premiership with an impressive 32-4 trial win over Auckland.
The Luisa Avaiki-coached side scored six tries to one in the historic hit-out, which was played at Mount Smart Stadium before the NRL clash between the Warriors and Newcastle on Friday night.
An early flurry of three tries in consecutive possessions saw the Warriors race out to an 18-0 lead and they were 26-0 in front at halftime, but the Auckland combination showed impressive defensive resolve after the break and also posted a try.
A historic moment for our club and women’s rugby league in New Zealand. Captain Laura Mariu leads our NRL Women’s side out for their first match. #WomenInLeague #rugbyleague #history #WarriorNation pic.twitter.com/UY1jsZ0PPb
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) August 10, 2018
— Michael Burgess (@mikeburgess99) August 10, 2018
The 41-year-old Lorina Papali’i – mother of Warriors sensation Isaiah – laid on the opening try for centre Amber Kani with a deft short ball.
A brilliant offload from front-rower Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala sent Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell on a 50-metre sprint for the try-line for the Warriors’ second.
Nuuausala and prop partner Aieshaleigh Smalley were standouts with their bone-rattling defence, bullocking charges and handy ball skills.
Fullback Apii Nicholls announced herself as a player to watch in the NRL Women’s Premiership by scoring the most memorable try of the night from a kick by halfback and captain Laura Mariu, while also slotting four goals.
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) August 10, 2018
The Warriors’ trailblazing NRL campaign gets underway in September.
Warriors 32 (Amber Kani, Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell, Langi Veainu, Hilda Mariu, Apii Nicholls, Sarina Clark tries; Apii Nicholls 4 goals) Auckland 4 (Kararaina Wira-Kohu try). HT: 26-0.