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Tuivasa-Sheck features in Warriors win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/02/2017

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors Roger Tuivasa-Sheck led from the front in just his second game as Warriors captain, playing a key role in their five-try 26-6 NRL trial win over the Gold Coast Titans in Palmerston North.

The 23-year-old ex-Rooster played an especially strong hand in the first three tries, and also featured in a solid game-long defensive effort.

New coach Stephen Kearney had targeted an improved defence this season after the Warriors conceded on average four tries per game last year.

The signs were encouraging, the Warriors repelling an early foray when Kane Elgey chipped in behind the line, then settling in for a sustained period of possession.

Slick handling and strong running in particular from Tuivasa-Sheck and playmaker Shaun Johnson kept the Titans on the back foot.

The pressure finally told after 20 minutes, 18-year-old Isaiah Papali'i dotting down on a repeat set of six off a late Tuivasa-Sheck popped pass.

Winger Tuimoala Lolohea crossed for the Warriors' second after 33 minutes, finishing off a sweeping move which featured the quick hands of Issac Luke, Johnson and the ever-present Tuivasa-Sheck.

Johnson nailed a tricky conversion, and the Warriors looked set to take a 10-0 lead into the break until a clever Ash Taylor grubber in behind the line popped up perfectly for centre John Olive.

The Warriors' 10-6 halftime lead opened out to 14-6 when David Fusitua ran onto another perfectly timed Tuivasa-Sheck short ball, then James Gavett bulldozed over for a fourth with 15 minutes remaining.

Ex-captain Simon Mannering pounced on a loose ball from a Johnson grubber with less than five minutes to go, completing a promising showing two weeks out from the Warriors' season-opener against Newcastle.

The Titans, resting superstar Jarryd Hayne, finished the match with a worrying injury toll which included a rib cartilage injury to Ryan Simpkins and a shoulder problem for Nathan Peats.

Tyler Cornish and Morgan Boyle also both took head knocks in the second half and left the field, while Pat Politoni was forced off late with an arm injury.

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