The New Zealand warriors were left lamenting a poor start against the Canterbury Bulldogs in yesterday afternoon's third-round national rugby league clash, after eventually losing 32-18 at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Warriors owned the middle 45-minute period of the contest with a run of 18 unanswered points but their fate was dictated by the 16 points they conceded in the first 16 minutes and another 16 in the final 19 minutes.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan and the players lamented the effect the start had on their fortunes yet took heart from the manner in which they had fought their way back into the match, only to be undone by a critical no-try ruling.
It came with the Bulldogs holding a precarious 22-18 lead at a stage when they were being forced to withstand numerous Warriors raids on their line.
The late blowout in the score-line belied the intensity of the battle and the real shot the Warriors had of stealing victory after starting disappointingly.