The Newcastle Knights have kept their finals hopes alive, downing the New Zealand Warriors 24-19 in front of 15,112 fans at Mount Smart Stadium.
After trailing 18-0 after 18 minutes the Knights managed to claw their way back into the match, keeping the Warriors scoreless in the second half to take home the two competition points.
The Warriors got off to a flashy start, with Nathan Friend opening up the scoring in only the sixth minute after being put into space by Feleti Mateo. James Maloney added the extras.
Shaun Johnson made his mark on the match only two minutes later when he put on a step to beat Darius Boyd and streak away to score. Maloney adds the extras.
The home side were over again in the 16th minute when Mateo put Ben Matulino into space a few metres out from the line.
Newcastle claimed the lead in the 62nd minute through Dane Gagai who ran 60 minutes for his four pointer. Roberts nailed another side line conversion.
The Warriors were given several opportunities to hit back in the back end of the match but the Knights' defence was too good.
Tonight's win keeps the Knights in touch with the top eight with six matches to go in the regular season. They will head to Canberra next week where they take on the Raiders.
Tonight's loss is not the only concern for the Warriors, with captain Simon Mannering limping off the field in the final minute of the match. They will head to Perth next weekend to take on the Sea Eagles.
New Zealand Warriors 19 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 24
National Rugby League - Round 20 - Saturday July 21, 2012 5:30pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Gerard Sutton and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Luke Potter
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 19 Newcastle Knights 12
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (19)
Tries: Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Shaun Johnson
Field Goals: James Maloney (1/1)
Conversions: James Maloney (3/3)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (24)
Tries: Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Kevin Naiqama, Dane Gagai
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Tyrone Roberts (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening folks and welcome to Mt Smart Stadium where the New Zealand Warriors host the Newcastle Knights.
Both teams will be desperate to win here tonight, for the home side, they are currently only two points out of the eight. As for the Knights, a loss today could see them slip down to 14th place at the end of the round.
Warriors - Manu Vatuvei ruled OUT, Omar Slaimankhel replaces him on the wing
Knights - Neville Costigan moves to the bench, Alex McKinnon starts at lock. No other changes.
1 min: Tyrone Roberts kicks off to bring us under way at Mount Smart.
3 min: Strong opening sets from both sides here.
3 min: Warriors get a tackle count restart on half way.
4 min: Shaun Johnson forces a line drop out.
7 min: TRY
TRY! Feleti Mateo takes the line on before giving a one-handed offload to Nathan Friend who scores close to the posts. James Maloney adds the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 6-0
7 min: Warriors receive the first penalty of the match.
8 min: Johnson goes straight through and might have a try here.
10 min: TRY
TRY! Johnson puts on a side step to beat Darius Boyd and streak 40 metres to score. Maloney adds the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 12-0
14 min: Warriors receive a penalty 30 out from their own line.
15 min: Johnson forces a line drop out and the Warriors will get another shot at the Newcastle line.
18 min: TRY
TRY! Mateo puts Ben Matulino into a gap 10 metres out from the line and Matulino scores under the posts. Maloney adds the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 18-0
22 min: Neville Costigan is pinned for a forward pass 30 out from the Warriors' line.
24 min: Knights receive their first penalty of the night 40 out from their own line. They should go on the attack at the end of this set.
26 min: Chris Houston is pinned for an incorrect play the ball.
28 min: Knights receive a relieving penalty.
30 min: TRY
TRY! The Knights spread it out wide and Akuilla Uate forces his way over in the right corner. Tyrone Roberts converts from the sideline.
New Zealand Warriors 18-6
35 min: Warriors will get a scrum on their own 35 metres out from their own line after Kevin Naiqama is tackled into touch.
37 min: Warriors will get a scrum 10 out after Uate knocks on a Johnson bomb.
38 min: Possible try to Lewis Brown for the Warriors.
38 min: No try! The Warriors still have one more tackle up their sleeve.
39 min: FIELD GOAL
Maloney takes a shot at goal from 10 out and nails it.
New Zealand Warriors 19-6
40 min: Jaccob Lillyman knocks on 30 out and the Knights will get a shot at the Warriors' line before half-time.
40 min: TRY
TRY! The Knights spread it out wide through Tahu and Boyd and Naiqama scores in the left corner. Roberts adds the extras again.
New Zealand Warriors 19-12
41 min: The second half is under way at Mt Smart.
43 min: Knights are making some great metres here they're 40 out from the Warriors' line on the fourth.
43 min: Kevin Locke takes a Jarrod Mullen kick ten metres out from his own line. Great take by the young fullback.
45 min: Possible try to the Knights here.
46 min: No try! Mullen goes to the air from 30 out and Locke can't get a clean grab on it, the Knights regather the ball and spread it out wide to Uate who gets over the try line but loses the ball before grounding it.
48 min: Konrad Hurrell gets the Warriors 15 metres into the Knights' half before being tackled on the third.
48 min: Uate diffuses a Johnson bomb and finds some space.
49 min: TRY
TRY! The Knights spread it out wide on halfway and Timana Tahu finds some space out wide and streaks away to score. Roberts adds the extras again.
New Zealand Warriors 19-18
53 min: Knights receive a relieving penalty and will get a piggyback up the field.
54 min: Chris Houston throws an unnecessary offload and Fried comes up with the ball for the Warriors 15 out from his own line.
58 min: Warriors are over half way on tackle two.
59 min: Maloney goes to the air on the last but Naiqama diffuses the bomb.
59 min: The Knights receive another relieving penalty.
62 min: TRY
TRY! Omar Slaimankhel loses the ball 40 out and Dane Gagai pounces on the loose ball and streaks away to score in the right corner. Roberts adds the extras from the right touch line.
Newcastle Knights 24-19
65 min: The Warriors are trapped in their own 20 after three tackles.
65 min: Maloney takes a kick from 35 out from his own line and Boyd fields it on his own 20 before running it back to his own 30.
66 min: Mullen forces a line drop out.
68 min: Mullen forces another line drop out.
68 min: Slaimankhel pulls off an intercept and makes it to his own 40 before being tackled.
70 min: Mullen cleans up a Maloney grubber a few metres out from his own line.
71 min: The Knights will get a scrum 30 out from the Warriors' line after Hurrell knocks on.
72 min: Boyd might have a try for the Knights here.
72 min: No try! Boyd knocked the ball on over the line.
73 min: Maloney busts through a gap on halfway.
74 min: Hurrell forces a line drop out, but it's not all good news for the Warriors Hurrell looks like he may have injured himself.
74 min: Mullen's drop out is massive and the Warriors take the first tackle from inside their own half.
75 min: The Knights hold on again.
76 min: Knights receive a penalty 40 out from the Warriors' line.
77 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Knights opt to go for the two and Roberts misses.
Newcastle Knights 24-19
80 min: The Warriors have 50 seconds to run 80 metres.
80 min: Hurrell is tackled into touch and that should be the match. Mannering is limping off the field.
80 min: Tahu is tackled on his own 30 as the full-time siren sounds and that the game. The Knights defeat the Warriors 24-19 after trailing 18-0 after 16 minutes.