Auto Poster Warriors defeat Knights to close in on NRL playoffs

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Apr 23, 2013
Warriors defeat Knights to close in on NRL playoffs


Last updated 22:03, August 10 2018


The NZ Warriors continued their push towards the NRL playoff with a home win over the Newcastle Knights.

The Warriors have recorded back-to-back wins for the second time since April to all but secure a spot in the NRL playoffs.

The Stephen Kearney-coached side defeated the Knights 20-4 at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night for their 13th victory of the season.

The win puts the Warriors six points ahead of the ninth-placed Wests Tigers, with three rounds to go, although the Tigers are yet to play the Raiders this weekend.

It would take an incredible run from the Tigers plus a monumental collapse from the Warriors to keep them out now and the performance shown against the Knights would suggest that the latter is unlikely to happen.

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It was a solid rather than breathtaking performance from the Warriors, but at this stage of the season, it's more about picking up the two points than anything else.

Last week's win over the Dragons in Wollongong revived Warrior hopes after a shaky couple of months.

With the way results have gone, not only do they seem assured of finishing in the top eight, but a top four placing is also back on the cards.

Gerard Beale and Shaun Johnson celebrate the try by Warriors team-mate David Fusitu'a against the Knights.

The Knights are a vastly better side than they've been the last couple of years, but Nathan Brown's rebuilding project still has a way to go and this was a game the Warriors were expected to win comfortably.

There was a tentative start from both teams, with each defence holding solid.

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It wasn't until the 10th minute that the first penalty was conceded, by the Warriors, and from it Kalyn Ponga went close on the right, but when the ball was moved to the left, Ken Sio busted his way over for the try.

Adam Blair celebrates his try with Issac Luke on his back.

In the 23rd minute the Warriors had their best attacking opportunity yet, but it came to nothing when Blake Green's grubber in goal, was cleaned up by the Knights defence.

Although that came to nothing, it did show that the Warriors were now the more dominant team.

Simon Mannering went close, but in the 29th minute the try came as Gerard Beale flicked a pass inside him to Adam Blair, who ran through a big gap for his maiden Warriors try.

Five minutes later, David Fusitu'a, who this week signed a contract extension to remain at the club until 2023, broke down the right wing for the Warriors' next try.

Agnatius Paasi and James Gavet both needed to get involved to bring down Daniel Saifiti.

The Warriors hadn't scored in the second half of their last two games, so naturally there were nerves from the crowd of 14,395 about whether their eight-point lead at the break was going to be enough.

An opportunity to build on the lead was blown in the 47th minute when Fusitu'a dropped a pass, with just the tryline in front of him.

But a few minutes later Green produced a nice solo try running through the heart of the Dragons' defence from 20m out.

Shaun Johnson had another solid game, attacking the Knights' line.

That was enough to secure the win, Ponga tried a few of his special things to beat the Warriors' defence, but nothing paid off and it was the Warriors who had the last laugh with a penalty from Shaun Johnson.

Warriors 20 (Adam Blair, David Fusitu'a, Blake Green tries; Shaun Johnson 4 goals); Knights 4 (Ken Sio try). HT: 12-4

- Stuff

Next League story:

Recap: NZ Warriors v Newcastle Knights - NRL week 22

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