As NZ Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak flew towards his corner of Sydney’s CommBank Stadium, the photographer must have known what was coming.
Perhaps he even claimed this position, hoping he would be on the spot for something that has become almost a weekly occurence during the Warriors’ run towards the NRL playoffs this season.
Watene-Zelezniak has made a habit of scoring tries – he leads his team with 12 from 10 appearances in 2023, including four against St George Dragons two weeks ago.
Many of them involved some form of aerobatics that – with his flying mullet – make him a favourite among Warriors fans everywhere.
This is surely what the photographer hoped to capture and he certainly got more than he bargained for.
About midway through the second half of the Warriors’ emphatic 46-10 victory over Parramatta Eels, DWZ secured a pass from centre Rocco Berry and set sail for the corner, as the cover defence closed on him.
The former NZ Kiwis captain was airborne, as he forced the ball, but continued to tumble over the touchlin and into the photographer, whose finger remained try, despite the oncoming collision.
“Now this is commitment,” warned Fox Sport commentator Dan Ginane. “He’s got the big camera in the left hand, but you can see him pointing and clicking with the right hand, with no regard for self-preservation.
“This is tough, this is what the game is all about. Wooshka!”
The snapper caught the sequence perfectly, culminating in a few frames of Watene-Zelezniak helping him back to his feet.
Surprisingly, it was as close as the Warriors came to a try celebration, despite touching down eight times against the Eels.
This month, the Sportsbet agency is offering to reward any try celebration with $5000 towards a charity set up to assist former Warriors and Eels coach Daniel Anderson, who was left paralysed in a beach accident late last year.
While Canberra Raiders showed their imagination against the Dragons, with a re-enactment of the infamous Jonny Bairstow runout against England in the Ashes cricket series, the Warriors seemed to miss that particular memo.