Played in overcast and drizzly conditions, the match took a dramatic turn in the opening minutes when Crockett hammered Bulldogs winger Cameron Phelps with a heavy tackle deep in Bulldogs territory. Phelps hit the deck and was knocked out cold, eventually being stretchered from the field. Crockett was called out by referee Sean Hampstead and following a touch judge report that a swinging arm was involved, Hampstead had little hesitation in sending Crockett from the field - a shocked Warriors contingent suddenly down to 12 men on the field.
The Bulldogs capitalised with tries to back rowers Sonny Bill Williams and Lee Te Maari in the 16th and 18th minutes.
At 12-0 down, it was looking ominous for the Warriors but they struck back through forward Logan Swann in the 22nd minute, and again through centre Simon Mannering four minutes later.
The Warriors were in again in the 33rd minute when winger Patrick Ah Van leapt high to a Lance Hohaia kick to score out wide. Centre Tony Martin was successful with just one first half conversion and coming up to half time, a gallant Warriors were leading by 14-12.
But with handling errors hampering the Warriors progress, the Bulldogs delivered a heavy blow just before the break with a try to Jarad Hickey. Hazem El Masri coverted and at half time, the Bulldogs were 18-14 in front.
The visitors went further ahead to 24-12 with a try to Sonny Bill Williams in the 46th minute, and the writing was on the wall.
With the encounter developing into a highly entertaining clash, the Warriors fought back again with Jerome Ropati crossing for a four-pointer midway through the half to make it 24-20. But it would be the last time the home side would trouble the score board.
But the win may have been costly for the Bulldogs with Te Maari and Roberts suffering injuries in addition to the concussion to Phelps.
New Zealand Warriors 20 Tries: Logan Swann, Simon Mannering, Patrick Ah Van, Jerome Ropati Goals: Tony Martin (2/4) Canterbury Bulldogs 40 Tries: Sonny Bill Williams (2), Lee Te Maari, Jarrad Hickey, Kane Cleal, Reni Maitua, Ben Roberts Goals: Hazem El Masri (6/7)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Overcast in Auckland today, a possibility of rain. Good crowd on hand. Most notable change to the Warriors side is that forward Ruden Wiki has been rested. His place in the pack is taken by Sam Rapira. In summary: Wiki, Anderson out, Gatis, Lauaki in. Bulldogs as per program. Players coming onto the field...
KICK OFF! Warriors have first use of the ball.
5 min: Bulldogs winger Cameron Phelps has been KO'd by a big hit from Warriors winger Michael Crockett. A stretcher has been called for Phelps who hasn't moved - he will take no further part.
The refs, video ref and touchies are looking at it...
SENT OFF - Michael Crockett has been sent off following a touch judge report and Crockett has been charged with a high swinging arm on Phelps. Warriors will now play with 12 men on the field. Bulldogs bench has been reduced by one.
16 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Back rower Sonny Bill Williams scores on their right side following a kick through from half back Brent Sherwin. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Warriors simply short on numbers out wide. Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
18 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Back rower Lee Te Maari is in for a four pointer courtesy of another overlap, five eighth Ben Roberts figuring strongly. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 12-0
33 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Winger Patrick Ah Van leaps high to score out wide following a near perfect kick from half back Michael Witt. Bulldogs winger El Masri unable to stop Ah Van getting to the ball first. Conversion attempt by Tony Martin unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 14-12
39 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Forward Jarad Hickey scores after the Warriors lose possession. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 18-14
Half time: Bulldogs 18-14 Playing a man down, the Warriors have acquitted themselves well, coming back to dominate. But a try against them on the stroke of half time could be a telling factor as the defence is sure to tire in the second half. Weather update: Still a chance of rain, quite overcast. Lights are on.
Second half underway...
46 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Sonny Bill Williams scores after charging at the line, his big reach planting the ball down. Follows a handling error from the Warriors to give the Bulldogs possession. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful from easy range. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-14
Light rain falling.
59 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Ropati sells a dummy and runs through to score next to the posts. Warriors getting a roll on in the lead up. Conversion attempt by Tony Martin successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-20
60 min: Warriors come within a whisker of scoring with fullback Wade McKinnon wrapped up on the last tackle. McKinnon unable to pass it to a support player who would have scored. McKinnon is then penalised for throwing the ball away.
63 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Kane Cleal scores after the Warriors defence goes to sleep. Follows another handling error from the Warriors. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 30-20
67 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Reni Maitua scores after being set up beautifully by Sonny Bill Williams running wide. The 12-man Warriors simply didn't have the numbers in defence. El Masri misses conversion attempt from out near the touch line. Canterbury Bulldogs 34-20
72 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Ben Roberts scores as the Bulldogs put the match beyond doubt. Looks to be a few injuries for the Bulldogs (Te Maari and Roberts) but they're home and hosed for this week at least. Conversion attempt by El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 40-20
75 min: Warriors' Epalahame Lauaki injured for the Warriors after copping a knee from Bulldogs forward Andrew Ryan.
Full time: Bulldogs 40-20 The Bulldogs have overcome a 12-man Warriors outfit but they didn't have things all their own way. Sonny Bill Williams was outstanding for visitors. Injuries to Te Maari, Roberts and Phelps will could see the Bulldogs lose a couple of players although they do have the bye next week. The Warriors played well at times and kept themselves in the match up until the final stages. But it was always going to be a hard ask after losing a player early in the match. Its not going to get any easier for the Warriors as they take on the Melbourne Storm next week.