Flashback Friday – Warriors’ miracle win in Christchurch
As Christchurch prepares to host its first NRL fixture in six years – the Round 10 clash between the Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors on Saturday at AMI Stadium – Flashback Friday relives the city’s last taste of top-level rugby league, which featured one of the greatest finishes in premiership history.
In rainy, freezing conditions at the old AMI Stadium (Lancaster Park), the Sydney Roosters led the Warriors 18-8 with five minutes to go, but a powerhouse try to Manu Vatuvei kept the Warriors hopes’ alive in front of 20,721 shivering supporters.
James Maloney’s spectacular sideline conversion reduced the deficit to just four points.
Young winger Kevin Locke had already scored a memorable first half double, and toed a Lance Hohaia grubber kick ahead from near halfway in the final minute of play. Displaying electrifying pace, Locke narrowly won the race to the ball ahead of Roosters speedster Phil Graham and planted the ball as his torso was simultaneously bent around the goalpost.
Replays showed Locke had successfully scored the gutsy leveller, while James Maloney added the simple conversion after the siren to win a thrilling encounter 20-18. Locke’s bravery cost him two weeks in the injury ward, but earned a place in club folklore.
Watch extended highlights of NRL classic in Christchurch here.
WILL EVANS – CANTERBURY RUGBY LEAGUE