Peta Hiku’s hat-trick helped New Zealand Warriors record a 37-26 win over North Queensland Cowboys.
The game ebbed and flowed in both directions with both sides taking the lead multiple times but the Warriors’ weight of possession eventually told.
The Warriors took an early lead through Patrick Herbert before the injured Valentine Holmes, who would later leave the field, scored to level the game.
The Cowboys briefly took the lead through Kyle Feldt before Eliesa Katoa and Hiku gave the Warriors a half-time lead with a field goal added by Kodi Nikorima for good measure.
Two tries from North Queensland in the opening ten minutes of the second half from Justin O’Neill and Francis Molo gave them the lead, despite a try from Adam Pompey for New Zealand. But from there, Hiku’s second and third try, plus Karl Lawton’s opportunist score, gave the Warriors the game.
Feldt’s second try late on was a mere consolation while Esan Marsters was sent to the bin with seconds remaining for a professional foul on Katoa allowing Nikorima to add a penalty.
Warriors: Tuivasa-Sheck, Herbert, Beale, Hiku, Pompey, Nikorima, Green, Taunoa-Brown, Egan, Burr, Katoa, Harris, Blair; Interchanges: Lawton, Faamausili, Vuniyayawa, Murchie
Tries: Herbert, Katoa, Hiku 3, Pompey, Lawton; Goals: Nikorima 4; Field goal; Nikorima (40)
Cowboys: Holmes, Feldt, O’Neill, Marsters, Tabuai-Fidow, Drinkwater, Clifford, McLean, Robson, McGuire, Dunn, Hess, Taumalolo; Interchanges: Molo, Cotter, Gilbert, Cooper
Tries: Holmes, Feldt 2, O’Neill, Molo; Goals: Feldt 3
Sin bin: Marsters (80) – professional foul
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.