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Warriors down Bulldogs in tight NRL battle

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/06/2017

The Warriors have kept up their push for a spot in the NRL top eight with a hard-fought 21-14 win over Canterbury in Auckland.

It took a Shaun Johnson field goal in the 69th minute to give the home side some breathing space.

A dart from dummy-half by skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck six minutes from time and Johnson's conversion virtually sealed victory at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.

The result keeps the Warriors - who had started the round in 11th place, one place ahead of the Bulldogs - within touching distance of the top eight.

But it was tempered by injury to hooker Issac Luke, who dislocated his shoulder in the 33rd minute after what seemed like an innocuous tackle.

The Bulldogs had Blues forwards Josh Jackson and David Klemmer backing up from State of Origin II and Klemmer, off the bench, racked up 142 metres, the most of any forward.

Jackson's night included being sinbinned on the shadow of halftime for holding down after having made a try-saving tackle on Johnson.

The Warriors opened the scoring with a 70-metre solo effort from Ken Maumalo in the 15th minute.

The winger made the Bulldogs pay for failing to complete a tackle on him as he tore upfield before scoring, with Johnson converting.

The Warriors edged ahead after Luke's replacement, Nathaniel Roache, produced a big break off a Simon Mannering offload.

Johnson carried on the move before Jackson stopped him, but held on too long, and the halfback got back up to land the simple penalty for an 8-2 halftime lead.

Centre Blake Ayshford increased the margin two minutes after the restart, latching on to a Johnson kick into the in-goal.

But the Bulldogs hit back in the 55th minute courtesy of costly errors from the home side, and former Warriors backrower Raymond Faitala-Mariner forced his way over.

Both sides then had tries ruled out before Johnson nailed his field goal.

Winger Kerrod Holland did manage to give the Bulldogs some late consolation, finishing in the corner with two minutes to go and then landing the extras from the sideline.

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