Warriors celebrate Manu Vatuvei's 200th in style

Warriors: 32

Tigers: 22

Manu Vatuvei has finally celebrated one of his milestones in winning fashion. 

Having lost all three of his milestone matches before tonight, The Beast crashed over the line twice to make sure this one was different. 

In doing so he also equaled Nigel Vagana's record (140) for the most tries scored by a Kiwi in the NRL. 

From the outset it was clear that this celebration meant more to the Warriors than others gone before. They played some of their best football, in patches and defended their line stoutly at crucial times.

That isn't to say there weren't traces of the worrying inconsistencies in their game - a basic Solomone Kata knock in the last five minutes allowed the Tigers back into the game after Vatuvei looked to have scored the winner - but for the most part coach Andrew McFadden will be happy. 

Shaun Johnson finally found a way to get out of second gear and produced a try in his best performance of the season, which was important on a night where some of their top performers played less prominent roles.

The consistent Simon Mannering, battling illness, made his way to the bench to the first time in years while Ryan Hoffman was quiet.

Up stepped the likes of Bodene Thompson, Jacob Lillyman and Konrad Hurrell while Tuimoala Lolohea continued his growth in the crucial fullback role. 

Thompson, the former Tigers back rower, sealed the win with 80 seconds left when he cleaned up a loose ball from a bomb to grab the Warriors' sixth try.

The result left both clubs with 3-3 records, but with the Tigers slightly better on for and against.

It was the visitors who struck first, centre Tim Simona scoring for the first of his two tries thanks to skipper Robbie Farah's big break from dummy half.

From there, the Warriors dominated.

They sent plenty of the play to Vatuvei's edge and he obliged by getting them on the board in typical fashion, powering past two tacklers.

Five-eighth Chad Townsend then went over before fullback Tuimoala Lolohea scored the Warriors' third after a deft Ryan Hoffman offload and a damaging run from centre Konrad Hurrell.

When halfback Shaun Johnson's speed took him over for the Warriors' fourth try, it looked like the Tigers would be left behind.

But from a rare attack, fullback James Tedesco crossed to help close the gap to 20-12 at halftime.

Simona then produced a double fend on Hurrell and Johnson to complete his brace and Richards' third conversion made it two-point ballgame.

NZ WARRIORS 32 (M Vatuvei 2 S Johnson T Lolohea B Thompson C Townsend tries S Johnson 4 goals) bt WESTS TIGERS 22 (T Simona 2 P Richards J Tedesco tries P Richards 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 13,781.

FULLTIME

79mins - WAR 32-22 WST

TRY! Bodene Thompson with the match winner! Matulino taps back Townsend's kick and Thompson is over to score against his old team. 

78mins - WAR 26-22 WST

Curtis Sironen comes up with the knock on that could just see the Warriors get home. 

77mins - WAR 26-22 WST

Tigers put a chip over the line on the last but Jonathan Wright is there to rescue to Warriors. 

75mins - WAR 26-22 WST

TRY! Kata gives away the ball on the Warriors 20 and Pat Richards goes over in the left. 

73mins - WAR 26-18 WST

Manu comes away with a one-one-one strip from Tedesco but ends up being penalised. Tackle was called. 

70mins - WAR 26-18 WST

TRY! Manu is over again to equal Nigel Vagana's record of 140 tries by a Kiwi in the NRL. Kata gives him the offload and he cuts back inside to beat to defenders. 

66mins - WAR 20-18 WST

Warriors repel Tigers on their line then Johnson goes streaking upfield. He's stopped 15 metres out and the Warriors win a penalty shortly after. 

61mins - WAR 20-18 WST

Warriors bomb a chance. Thompson holds the ball with a two-on-one overlap outside him. Then Peyroux gets a flat ball just before the line and drops it. 

58mins - WAR 20-18 WST

Aaron Woods on report for cleaning up Chad Townsend with a very late hit. 

56mins - WAR 20-18 WST

Warriors narrowly avoid conceding another try. Simona was steaming through the line but he couldn't get the kick in time. 

50mins - WAR 20-18 WST

TRY! Tim Simona is over again. Puts a fend on Hurrell then Johnson and is over down the left. 

45mins - WAR 20-12 WST 

Halatau penalised for his second effort on Bodene Thompson. Warriors now at the attacking 20. 

42mins - WAR 20-12 WST 

Hurrell takes the hitup then gives away a penalty for lashing out at Sue before playing the ball. It appears he may have received an elbow to the back but still a silly turnover. 

41mins - WAR 20-12 WST

Warriors received the restart. 

HALFTIME

HT. We're up 20-12 #FeedTheBeastpic.twitter.com/7T2p3BVtue

— #FeedTheBeast (@NZWarriors) April 11, 2015

38mins - WAR 20-12 WST

Townsend chips to Manu's wing but he can't grab it. 

35mins - WAR 20-12 WST

TRY! Tedesco makes Townsend look a little silly as he breezes through the soft tackle attempt. 

30mins - WAR 20-6 WST

TRY! Shaun Johnson picks up an average pass from Townsend but is simply too fast and goes around the defence to score on the right.

25mins - WAR 16-6 WST

TRY! Tui Lolohea is the finisher, Shaun Johnson the creator and Hurrell made the initial bust. A beautiful try that started in the Warriors half. 

22mins - WAR 10-6 WST

TRY! Chad Townsend catches the defence napping and goes over under the posts after cutting back while the Tigers were expecting the pass. 

20mins - WAR 4-6 WST

Warriors force a line dropout after Hurrell drags Pat Richards back over the Tigers' line. Great hanging kick from Townsend. 

16mins - WAR 4-6 WST

TRY! Manu!! Is in. The floating ball from Shaun Johnson was average but Manu still got over even with a couple of defenders on him. Johnson hooks the conversion. 

12mins - WAR 0-6 WST

That's the third time the Warriors have gone to the air hoping for Manu to latch onto it but it just hasn't worked. 

7mins - WAR 0-6 WST

TRY! Tim Simona scores. Ouch that one hurt. Farah scooped from dummy half and was through a big gap. Moses got the offload and fired a wild pass out to the left for Simona to collect the ball and carry Johnson over the line down the left. 

5mins - WAR 0-0 WST

Offside penalty lets the Tigers march out of their half. But Warriors hold. 

3mins - WAR 0-0 WST 

Warriors go 80 metres on their first attacking set. Townsend kicks to Manu's wing but it's taken by the Tigers. 

1mins - WAR 0-0 WST

Warriors kick off. 

Kick-off was at 7:36pm (NZT).

Pre-game 

7:33pm - Tigers make their way out onto the field. 

7:29pm - Crowd is now in full voice. Plenty of #feedthebeast signs around. Let's see if the Warriors can do that tonight. 

#NRLWarriorsTigers#FeedTheBeastpic.twitter.com/IiXWkYrmMr

— Lonetona (@london_uppercut) April 11, 2015

7:18pm - Manu Vatuvei asked whether he knows what he means to the fans: "To be honest I don't. I just hope that I can live up to their expectations."

My all time favourite Warrior #FeedTheBeast#Gametime#NRLWarriorsTigerspic.twitter.com/OetjIpMSWG

— TdotM (@Champsaaan) April 11, 2015

7:07pm - Warriors captain Simon Mannering was asked whether Vatuvei's milestone is a little more important than others. He said: "Yeah it is. Not taking anything away from other boys' milestones but it would be a discredit to everything Manu has done if this one wasn't just a little more special."

We are about to watch No. 200. Let's look back to game No. 1 for @ManuVatuvei. #NRLWarriorsTigers#FeedTheBeasthttps://t.co/gEDWc74eeY

— NRL (@NRL) April 11, 2015

6:45pm - OTHER RESULTS

NSW CUP: Warriors 28 - 16 Wests Tigers 

NYC: Junior Warriors 38 - 4 Wests Tigers 

6:30pm - Fans are now starting to stream into the ground. 

6:00pm - LATE MAIL

Just one change for the Warriors with Sebastine Ikahihifo dropping off the bench to make way for Dominque Peyroux. 

Tigers are unchanged. 

TEAMS

Warriors: 1. Tuimoala Lolohea, 2. Jonathan Wright, 3. Konrad Hurrell, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Chad Townsend, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Thomas Leuluai, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Bodene Thompson, 12. Ryan Hoffman, 13. Simon Mannering (c).

Interchange: 14. Nathan Friend, 16. Sam Lisone, 17. Albert Vete, 18. Dominique Peyroux. 

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Kevin Naiqama, 3. Tim Simona, 4. Chris Lawrence, 5. Pat Richards, 6. Mitchell Moses, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Keith Galloway, 11. Curtis Sironen, 12. Kyle Lovett, 13. Martin Taupau.

Interchange: 14. Dene Halatau, 15. Ava Seumanufagai, 16. Jack Buchanan, 17. Sauaso Sue. 

NRL TEAM NEWS | Team confirmed to face @Wests_Tigers#FeedTheBeast#NRLWarriorsTigershttp://t.co/qRjpyzEcIxpic.twitter.com/OqoaEKl8H3

— #FeedTheBeast (@NZWarriors) April 11, 2015

The team have arrived at #WarriorsHomepic.twitter.com/PhQPJ2FC8x

— #FeedTheBeast (@NZWarriors) April 11, 2015

Who's hungry? #FeedTheBeastpic.twitter.com/i2TnTQnuhD

— Andy Eames (@andyeames11) April 11, 2015

What a stunner @MtSmartStadium today! Grab your ticket, your Fritz & watch the mighty @NZWarriors take on the Tigers pic.twitter.com/PvyK6HwDSP

— Fritz's Wieners (@FritzsWieners) April 11, 2015

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