Watch: Warriors women's star absolutely flattened by pair of Auckland defenders in bone-crunching hit

Lorina Papali'i has been welcomed back to rugby league in brutal fashion after copping a massive two-women tackle in the Warriors women's exhibition match against Auckland tonight.

Papali'i, mother of Warriors forward Isaiah, cracked the inaugural NRL squad after returning earlier this year despite retiring in 2010.

However, the 41-year-old was given a brutal reminder of how physical the game can be in the Warriors women's 32-4 win over Auckland at Mount Smart when she ran the ball at the line only to end up flat on her back.

The tackle even made commentators shudder but Papali'i managed to get to her feet, play the ball, and carry on in the game.


As it happened: Warriors women put on dominant display at Mount Smart to comfortably beat Auckland

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's exhibition match between the Warriors Women and Auckland Women's representative team at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

60min: WAR 32-4 AUK

FULLTIME! The whistle goes and the Warriors win their first hit out at Mount Smart with ease. Didn't quite keep the same standard in the second half as they did in the first 30 but still plenty of positives from the game overall. That does it for our coverage of this game. Stay tuned, we'll have the men against the Knights at 8pm!

57min: WAR 32-4 AUK

Couple of erriors starting to creep into the Warriors game now. This time it's a knock on on halfway which means Auckland are on the attack again. Sure, the result is in the bag but this isn't what they'll want to be showing.

54min: WAR 32-4 AUK

Auckland make their way back into the Warriors half with another penalty but they come up just short again! The Warriors' defence has been superb most of this game.

51min: WAR 32-4 AUK

WAR TRY! Warriors go end-to-end and Sarina Clark is in on the last tackle! After going 74m on the set to sit 6m short, the ball comes left to Clark and she puts on the afterburners to slice through Auckland's line and score pratically untouched.

49min: WAR 26-4 AUK

The defence holds this time and Auckland are denied inches from the line. Warriors restart on their 20m.

47min: WAR 26-4 AUK

Pressure continues to mount against the Warriors and they cough up the ball on their own line! Auckland scrum 10m out now.

45min: WAR 26-4 AUK

Auckland playing with their tails up now as they make 62m on their set. It's capped off by a big run that sees two Warriors tacklers go flying but back up arrives and the ball is stopped 5m short. First taste of playing against momentum for the Warriors tonight.

42min: WAR 26-4 AUK

AUK TRY! Kararaina Wira-Kohu gets Auckland on the board. After building pressure and territory for the past five minutes, Auckland finally break through with the prop powering through two tacklers to score.

38min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Auckland get another attacking chance with great field position after a penalty but the Warriors defence holds again and snuffs out a grubbered kick on the last tackle.

35min: WAR 26-0 AUK

WAR NO TRY! Warriors get to within inches of the line but they're held up short on the last tackle. Auckland play the ball on their goal line.

33min: WAR 26-0 AUK

There's an injury stoppage in play but both sides have gotten through their opening sets. 

30min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Warriors get things back underway.

30min: WAR 26-0 AUK

HALFTIME! That's the first half in the wraps and what a statement from the Warriors women. Near-flawless opening half from them and they've shown they have plenty of attacking options and a sound defence to work with. Auckland have had chances but just can't find a hole yet. We'll be back soon with the second 30.

29min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Veainu looks for another break down the left wing but she's ankle tapped into touch. Auckland scrum on their 40m.

27min: WAR 26-0 AUK

WAR TRY! There's no stopping Nicholls this time! Mariu sees no fullback in place by Auckland and kicks one over the top on halfway. Nicholls gives chase and wins the race by a landslide. Collects it 10m out and dives in untouched.

24min: WAR 22-0 AUK

WAR NO TRY! Apii Nicholls looks like she's in after running on to an inside pass but she's ruled to have used double-movement after being tackled to get the ball over the line. 

23min: WAR 22-0 AUK

Warriors on the attack again! after a 73m set, Auckland are penalised on the last tackle for being offside on their goal line. Warriors with a new set 10m out.

20min: WAR 22-0 AUK

WAR TRY! Hilda Mariu joins the party with a try in the right corner. Warriors make 67m on their set and on the last tackle opt to run instead of kick. They shift it down the line to the right wing and Mariu is one-on-one with 5m to go. She steps inside her marker and reaches out to finish it.

17min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Stoic defence holds Auckland out and it's a turnover inches from the line on the last tackle. First bit of pressure is diverted.

16min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Auckland grubbers on the last and it's deflected back to them off a Warriors leg. Six more tackles and just metres from the line.

14min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Auckland with a chance to fight back into the contest after the Warriors give away a penalty for not releasing. They find touch and get a new set 40m from the Warriors' line.

12min: WAR 18-0 AUK

WAR TRY! Another great space puts a runner in space and it's another great finish. This time it's winger Langi Veainu showing her gas down the left wing from 40m out and she goes in untouched. Flawless start.

9min: WAR 12-0 AUK

WAR TRY! What a run from Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell! Gets the ball on halfway with a great offload and she has work to do. Fends off one and burns past another as she runs 50m to score. Big start from the pros!

6min: WAR 6-0 AUK

WAR TRY! The Warriors open their try-scoring account in 2018! The Warriors shift it to the right and with numbers, Amber Kani dives in to score.

4min: WAR 0-0 AUK

Big attacking chance for the Warriors after an ugly bouncing kick is knocked on by Auckland just outside their goal. Warriors get a scrum 10m shy of the line.

3min: WAR 0-0 AUK

Warriors get off to a positive start with a 67m set in their opening attack but it comes undone when Auckland earn a penalty in their first set of six. As a result, Auckland reach the Warriors' 20m on their last tackle but good defence shuts it down.


Auckland gets things going in Mt Smart!


Luisa Avaiki believes the inaugural NRL women's premiership is a big 'opportunity' for women playing in NZ to take their game to the next level. Source: 1 NEWS

The Warriors' women's side will get their first taste of playing under the lights in a curtain-raiser match tonight at Mount Smart where they'll square off with the Auckland women's representative side in a tune-up match for the inaugural NRL competition.

Auckland Rugby League general manager Greg Wahaiapu said tonight's game is about helping the professional outfit as well as showcasing the depth and quality of players currently playing in Auckland and New Zealand.

"The majority of the Warriors’ squad for the NRL competition will be made up of players from our competitions, and it’s going to be exciting to see so many of our women take the field together when they play against Auckland,” Whaiapu said.

"Earning an Auckland jersey is always an honour, and for the ladies selected it will serve as a reward for their efforts this season.

"It’s also another chance for them to show their talents and push their claims for higher honours next year."

The Warriors will be led by Kiwi Ferns captain Laura Mariu.

Head coach Luisa Avaiki said it wasn't a tough decision.

"It wasn’t a difficult choice given Laura’s experience and all her achievements in rugby league," said Avaiki.

"It was a pleasure asking her to take the role with the first Vodafone Warriors team in this inaugural NRL women’s premiership.

"Laura’s our most-decorated women’s player who has consistently achieved the highest honours in the game."


Warriors (squad): Shontelle Woodman, Langi Veainu, Alice Vailea, Crystal Tamarua, Masuisuimatamaalii (SUI) Tauasa-Pauaraisa, Aieshaleigh Smalley, Krystal Rota, Kahurangi Peters, Lorina Papali'i, Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala, Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell, Apii Nicholls, Va’anessa Molia-Fraser, Laura Mariu, Hilda Mariu, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Amber Kani, Georgia Hale, Luisa Gago, Lisa Edwards, Sarina Clark, Raquel Anderson-Pitman.



'I can still get better'- Warriors' unsung hero Ken Maumalo promises more ahead of NRL finals

Warriors winger Ken Maumalo has opened up about his improved season in this year's NRL, on track to reach his best ever return for tries in a single campaign.

Maumalo, 24, was an often maligned figure at times during the Warriors' miserable 2017 season, at times looking out of his depth in the number five jersey.

However, through sheer persistence, Maumalo's form on both attack and defence have seen him become one of the first names on the Warriors' team sheet and earning himself a Kiwis debut in the process.

Maumalo has also crossed over for five tries this season, eyeing his best every tally of seven with four regular season matches to be played.

Speaking to, Maumalo was quick to credit his teammates for his improved form.

"I feel like just my defensive reads have been a little off next to Sol (centre Solomone Kata). I feel I can really knuckle up on that a bit better and just sticking to my tackles," he said.

"Other than that I think everything is going OK on my edge, the left edge.

"I give big props to Sol and my back row, and Greenie (five-eighth Blake Green), which is helping me play a bit better.

"But I can still get better."

Maumalo also says that the side have to keep improving heading into the end of the regular season, with the Warriors needing at least two wins from their final four games to guarantee a top eight finish.

"Leading into this next block of games we've got to build on our skill.

"If you're willing to go get it, then you'll go get it. I think some weeks we've been on and some weeks we've been off, so it's just a mindset which is leading to that inconsistency stuff."

Maumalo and the Warriors are next in action later tonight, facing off against the Newcastle Knights at Mt Smart Stadium.

Ken Maumalo scores the Warriors first try during the New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League Telstra Premiership game played at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on April 7th 2018. 

Copyright photo; Peter Meecham/
Ken Maumalo scores the Warriors first try during the New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Source: Photosport