TRY: Kevin Naiqama of the Wests Tigers beats Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors to score.
TRY: Kevin Naiqama of the Wests Tigers beats Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors to score. David Rowland

Warriors suffer collapse to fall out of finals race

THE New Zealand Warriors were denied the try of the season and bundled out of the finals by a never-say-die Wests Tigers.

The Tigers produced a stunning second half to win their Mt Smart battle of survival 36-24.

The clash was shrouded in refereeing controversies, many against the Warriors.

But in the end, when the game was on the line, the Kiwi outfit collapsed like a deck of cards in the final 10 minutes.

The Tigers now have a shot at making the finals depending on next week's results, in particular the Gold Coast Titans' clash with defending premier North Queensland.

The Tigers scored three tries in the last nine minutes through Sauaso Sue (71st), Mitchell Moses (76th) which put them in front and Kevin Naiqama (79th) when the Warriors failed to defuse a bomb.

The refereeing left a lot to be desired and Warriors coach Andrew McFadden certainly had every right to blow up after the game given the huge stakes on offer.

"We should feel pretty disappointed," said skipper Ryan Hoffman, aware the Warriors should have closed out the game when leading 24-18 with 10 minutes remaining.

Moses stepped up with two right foot steps before reaching out for the go-ahead try for a 30-24 lead in the 77th minute before Naiqama sealed the win when the Warriors stood off a 79th-minute Moses bomb.

Newcastle plunged to its 20th loss of the season and 17th in a row as South Sydney continued their strong finish to a disappointing season with a 34-12 success.



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