The 2014 NYC Holden Cup preliminary finalists have been decided after a pair of thrilling elimination semi-finals at Allianz Stadium on the weekend.
The Brisbane Broncos, who finished the regular season in second spot, rebounded from their week one loss to Parramatta with a 42-18 defeat of Wests Tigers on Friday.
The Broncos trailed by 18-8 at halftime, but piled on 34 unanswered points during the second stanza to advance to a preliminary final date with St George Illawarra.
Broncos five-eighth Duncan Paia’aua was brilliant for the victors, setting up several spectacular tries during the second-half onslaught.
The New Zealand Warriors’ enigmatic but ultra-talented Under-20s continued their remarkable charge from eighth spot, knocking off minor premiers Newcastle on Saturday.
In a fiery, topsy-turvy encounter, the Warriors led the Knights 13-0 at the break, before encountering a ferocious comeback during the second half. Newcastle had reduced the deficit to just three points with almost half an hour remaining, but the Warriors – despite a few nervous moments inside the final 10 minutes – held on for a 23-16 triumph.
Barnstorming prop Sam Lisone, halfback Mason Lino and nuggetty centre Solomone Kate, who overshadowed big-name opposing centre Sione Mata’utia, were the standouts for the Warriors in a match that threatened to boil over in the dying stages.
The Warriors, premiers in 2010-11 and beaten Grand finalists last year, face the Eels in the preliminary final in their quest for a fourth decider appearance in five seasons.
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