Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Fulltime score: Round 24 New Zealand Warriors 4 v Newcastle Knights 16
Match summary: The Knights have won a clash vital to keeping them from the spoon at Ericsson tonight, prevailing over a Stacey Jones-inspired Warriors outfit by 16-4.
However, the scoreline isn't as true as it suggests. The Warriors held a 4-0 lead for much of the game, and dominated in attack for the first 55 minutes. Jones orchestrated a number of movements, and himself was denied three times over the course of the game.
The first half was an extremely defensive one, with only one try being scored, a sensational and powerful effort by winger Manu Vatuvei to cross.
The second half started much the same, with the Warriors dominating and Jones' kicking game giving the Knights backline trouble. Eventually the Knights were able to cross with Tighe going in out wide. Johns began shockingly with the boot, missing his first two attempts.
Another try minutes later proved that the wheels had well and truly fallen off a worn-out Warriors side. Newcastle then scored a third with 12 minutes remaining, before a Johns penalty goal with 3 to go sealed the deal.
Johns dominated for Newcastle, Tighe and Salkeld also putting good displays in, while Jones and Vatuvei were great for the losing side.
Newcastle's opponents for the next two weeks will be wary, as Johns' ominous form continues, whilst Manly will be out to sour Jones' final match in the NRL next week.
Warriors v Knights match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 4 Tries: M Vatuvei Goals: S Jones 0/1 NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 16 Tries: B Tighe, K Gidley, C Newton Goals: A Johns 2/4
Venue: Ericsson Stadium Crowd: 17,356 Referee: Jason Robinson Half time: Warriors 4-0
0 min: Game is underway here at Ericsson for Stace's farewell.
2 min: NEWS Both teams giving it everything, first error from Johns, throwing the ball into touch.
7 min: NEWS Knights looking good down the left side but Thaiday doesn't take the touchline seriousy and is bundled over it on tackle one, 30m out from his own line. Warriors on the attack, Knights defence holding. 0 all.
10 min: NEWS Jones and Johns troubling the fullbacks with their kicking games...
11 min: 40/20 WARRIORS Jones puts a sensational kick on, now Knights will be forced to defend. 0 all.
12 min: NEWS Try in the making goes bust, Faumuina loses the ball. Score still 0-all.
16 min: TRY- WARRIORS Manu Vatuvei powers over the line with a brilliant strong push. The big winger celebrates. No conversion for the general Jones. Warriors 4-0.
23 min: NO TRY- WARRIORS Has Jones scored? The man, in his last game, looks to have scored, however, possible knock on or obstruction play. No try, Mannering impeded the Knights player. Newcastle penalty. Warriors 4-0.
27 min: NEWS Newcastle get the ball and make a huge break after the Warriors had pressured their line. Repeat sets now for the Knights on the line. Score still 4-0.
29 min: 40/20 WARRIORS Fien this time gives the New Zealand side another chance to put a try on Newcastle. 4-0 still.
34 min: NEWS Newcastle slowing down play again under pressure. Warriors attack 10m out. They lead 4-0.
37 min: NEWS Both sides just playing end to end stuff although the Warriors are looking the more threatening side. Continual pressure from the Warriors. VIDEO REF- WARRIORS Possible try for Temata, grounding and offside being checked... Decision pending...
38 min: NO TRY- WARRIORS Benefit of the doubt not given to Temata, Knights ball deep in their own half with one set left in the half.
HALFTIME: NZ Warriors 4 Newcastle Knights 0 In an half that was very much dominated by the Warriors, the Knights tight defence has managed to keep them to only one try. Jones has been on fire in his final home game at Ericsson, but Johns is not to be underestimated. Anything can happen after the break. Vatuvei and Jones as mentioned the stars for the home team whilst Salkeld and Johns have been Newcastle's best.
Second half underway, Knights set first.
41 min: NEWS Exciting break by the Knights to start the second halff but a last tackle bomb is diffused, giving NZ second life. Warriors 4-0.
44 min: NEWS Johns has a blonde moment, putting the ball out on the full. Warriors on the attack.
50 min: NEWS Warriors on fire since the first couple of minutes back, some great attacking plays and have threatened the line on multiple occasions. They now have a 3rd set on the Knights line. Warriors 4-0.
51 min: NO TRY- WARRIORS Robinson deems a double movement for Jones, denying the halfback a second time. Newcastle penalty. Warriors 4-0.
55 min: VIDEO REF- WARRIORS Jones over again? Obstruction possible against NZ. Unlikely try. Decision pending...
56 min: NO TRY- WARRIORS No try again for the Warriors halfback. Obstruction. Newcastle penalty. Warriors 4-0, 25 minutes left.
59 min: TRY- KNIGHTS Johns brilliance evens the scores, Tighe is in close to touch. Johns disappointed with the conversion, wiped away. 4-all.
63 min: TRY- KNIGHTS Gidley over! Newcastle turning things around now and they lead. Johns kick missed again though! Knights 8-4.
68 min: TRY- KNIGHTS Newton over. Warriors getting carved up now. Johns finally converts. Knights 14-4.
74 min: NO FIELD GOAL- KNIGHTS Strangely Robinson has referred a field goal attempt from Johns to the video ref but it is ruled to have gone wide. Warriors have one more set to give themselves a shot. Knights 14-4.
77 min: PENALTY GOAL- KNIGHTS Newcastle put things to rest with a penalty goal to Johnsy. Warriors try the short kickoff but lose the ball anyway. Knights 16-4.
FULLTIME: Newcastle Knights 16 New Zealand Warriors 4. In a surprising result, the Warriors have faultered and conceded three second half tries to lose to Newcastle 16-4. In what was halfback Stacey Jones' last game on home soil, the Warriors failed to hold their halftime lead as his opposite number Johns orchestrated a Newcastle victory. The Knights now are only one point short of the Bunnies, who play the Roosters at 7:30pm, while the Warriors mathematical hopes of a semis berth have completely evaporated.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Johns (Knights) 2 - M Vatuvei (Warriors) 1 - S Jones (Warriors) -----------------------------------------