Ahead of tonight’s vital showdown between desperate bottom-half duo the Warriors and Canterbury, Flashback Friday relives arguably the clubs’ most memorable encounter on New Zealand soil.
The Bulldogs signed a four-year agreement to play one home game per season against the Warriors at Wellington’s Westpac Trust Stadium – and it paid off immediately, with 27,724 fans turning out for the first-ever NRL match played in the New Zealand capital.
The move also looked set to pay dividends from a results perspective when the Bulldogs held a 16-point lead with less than six minutes on the clock, following a double to Luke Patten and further tries to Hazem El Masri, Steve Reardon and Glen Hughes.
But in one of the most extraordinary late fight-backs of the modern era, young Warriors backs Henry Fa’afili, Francis Meli and Clinton Toopi all crossed to level up the scores at 24-all.
Prop Justin Morgan broke through the line to set up a 65-metre try for fill-in fullback Toopi in the dying stages, but Warriors linchpin Stacey Jones hooked the relatively easy conversion attempt – his first miss of the night – to consign the match to a draw.
Canterbury has returned to play the Warriors in Wellington five times since – 2002-04, 2013 and 2016 –and won all of the first four matches by margins of six or eight points, before the Warriors broke the duck with a 24-20 eclipse last season.
Tonight’s showdown is again a Bulldogs home game.