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3 days ago
New Zealand Warriors captain Ruben Wiki claimed his side had won back some respect after its 26-20 NRL win over Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Warriors bounced back from last Monday's 52-6 thumping at the hands of Manly, sharpshooter Michael Witt's goal kicking proving the difference in Sunday's four-tries-apiece match.
A 95-metre try to Warriors winger Patrick Ah Vahn helped sealed the win after the Knights had made several comebacks.
"We just wanted to get some respect for each other as players and for the club and for the fans," Wiki said after the match.
"We got the two points and I think it was a bit of relief for the boys after last week's effort."
Playing without injured stars Steve Price and Wade McKinnon, the Warriors raced to a 14-0 lead in front of 11,518 fans but the Knights fought back to trail 14-12 at halftime.
Prop Evarn Tuimavave crossed four minutes after the break to put the Warriors out to 20-12 before Knights winger James McManus scored to get the visitors within four.
Newcastle were threatening to equalise in the 67th minute when Ah Vahn latched onto a Knights crossfield kick on his own line and raced away to score.
The Knights scored again with three minutes on the clock through Wes Naiqama but the New Zealanders held on for the valuable two competition points.
"14-nil we were up. We definitely let them back in," Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said.
"Not through lack of effort, just little things.
"I was really happy with the effort today, but on the other hand we have got a hell of a lot to work on so I was just happy to get two points really."
Cleary commended a job well done by centre Ryan Shortland, who scored two first-half tries in his first game for the club since joining from Melbourne.
Witt kicked five from six for New Zealand while Newcastle's Kurt Gidley managed to convert only two of his side's four tries.
Despite the loss, Knights coach Brian Smith praised the "heroic" effort of his players against a tough Warriors side.
"I thought our players were heroic again today," Smith said.
"They fought hard trying to win the game, and they nearly got it back for us again."
Knights captain Danny Buderus felt his team was building pressure late in the match and was coming home the better side.
"We had times when we had a couple of possessions, you know back-to-back sets.," Buderus said.
"We felt pretty good about ourselves and we thought we would come over the top.
"On the back of that amount of possession we just kept coming.
"Especially on their home turf the Warriors can be a hard team."