The Warriors survived a late comeback from the Manly Sea Eagles to pick up a vital 24-16 win on Friday night and keep themselves in the hunt for the Telstra Premiership playoffs.
The Warriors led 18-0 with 15 minutes to play and looked set for a comfortable victory, before the sin binning of Adam Blair sparked a hectic finish which saw the Sea Eagles score 16 points in eight minutes and come within a whisker of a famous victory in Auckland.
Blair was sent to the bin after obstructing Manase Fainu on a potential try-scoring play with 13 to go, and Manly used their numerical advantage to score once through Joel Thompson and twice more through winger Reuben Garrick.
But a Jazz Tevaga try with three to go spared the Warriors' blushes.
It was a game which illustrated just how long a week can be in the Telstra Premiership, with the Warriors resembling nothing like the team who were humiliated 46-12 by the Canberra Raiders seven days earlier.
Match: Warriors v Sea Eagles
Round 21 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
- LIVE PASS
Looking down the barrel of a record seventh straight loss at Mount Smart Stadium, the Warriors put in arguably their best performance of the year.
The change in attitude was clear to see from the very first set, as the Warriors swarmed Manly in gangs of three or four, in what would become an enduring feature of their game at Mount Smart Stadium.
Rookie wonder Chanel Harris-Tavita was outstanding, setting up a pair of first-half tries and contributing eight points off the boot, while Ken Maumalo scored a double with neat finishes in tight spaces.
Adam Blair sin binned for professional foul
It was the 111kg winger who opened the scoring, latching on to a pinpoint kick from Harris-Tavita and tiptoeing his way to the line.
Given what they endured last week it was a dream start for the hosts, but for the next 15 minutes they hardly touched the ball and had to endure an onslaught from Manly.
But they survived, and on their next chance down the other end of the park Roger Tuivasa-Sheck produced some brilliance to give them a second try, getting on the end of a Blake Green chip before soccer kicking for himself and flicking the ball back to a waiting Ligi Sao.
When Maumalo added a second three minutes later, and Harris-Tavita converted from the sideline, the Warriors led 16-0.
In a half where Harris-Tavita could seemingly do no wrong, he kicked for himself to force a dropout, before kicking a penalty on the next set to send his side into the sheds up 18-0.
The Sea Eagles continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession in the second spell, but found the Warriors had an answer for everything they threw at them in attack, until Blair's sin-binning let them back into the game.
Another Garrick try sets up grandstand finish
Joel Thompson steamed over from close range before Garrick crossed twice and converted both of his efforts from the sideline, to make it 18-16 with four to play.
But Api Koroisau's forward pass halted Manly's momentum and on the next set Tevaga burrowed over to seal the game.