Warriors halfback Charntay Poko was at her creative best to help her team open the 2019 NRLW Holden Women's Premiership with a 16-12 win over the Roosters at AAMI Park on Saturday.
A try-scoring double for Roosters skipper Simaima Taufa to book-end the match was not enough to claw back the good work done by the Kiwis Ferns half.
Poko's kicking game shone, while her work with the ball at the line also caused headaches all afternoon for Rick Stone's women.
Now the trick is for the Warriors to continue on with the momentum they've created.
They won the corresponding round one game last year (10-4) over the Roosters but then conceded more than 50 points in their next two games against the Dragons and Broncos to surrender any chance of playing in the NRLW grand final.
Warriors extend lead with set piece special
Scores were locked up 6-6 at the break.
The Warriors were nearly the first to score for the new season when Poko sent a sublime cut-out pass in the sixth minute to unmarked winger Hilda Mariu. But officials called it forward.
Poko made up for the error with a 40-30 kick in the 25th minute, which led to a try to skipper Georgia Hale off the next set. She received a flat pass from hooker Krystal Rota to put her into a small hole.
In between, Roosters captain - and newly-crowned NSW Women’s Origin player of the year - Taufa completed almost the exact same play to score in the ninth minute. She ran hard and low onto a pass from her No.9 Nita Maynard to burrow through defenders.
Match: Roosters v Warriors
Round 1 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- Nine Network
Play was held up for a couple of minutes while Roosters back-rower Hannah Southwell was treated by trainers. She appeared to try to hurdle a couple of Warriors players but landed awkwardly on her head and neck.
The NSW Origin lock was helped from the field for an HIA test and did not return.
Poko was in the thick of things on the resumption by dummying and then scoring herself after the Warriors had stretched the Roosters left-side defence.
The Warriors were in front (12-6) for the first time in the game, with 19 minutes left on the clock.
Something had to give after two near misses for the Warriors. First Kirra Dibb performed a try-saving tackle on prop Onjeurlina Leiataua after a line break and 30-metre run, and then a fine chip-regather from Poko nearly saw the Roosters line crossed again.
But the Roosters couldn’t hold out centre Atawhai Tupaea after a wrap-around by Poko.
Taufa finishes with a double