Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
40 hours ago
THE New Zealand Warriors have comeback from an eight-point deficit to deafeat the Newcastle Knights 20-12 in front of 13,279 crowd at Mt Smart Stadium. Match Details
Both sides struggled to take control of the match as they squandered away their opportunities with droped balls and poor last tackle options.
The Knights were finally ables to create something in the 24th minute courtesy of some good field position and clever kick by halfback Jarrod Mullen to his winger Akuilla Uate.
But the Homeside hit back shortly after with Shaun Berrigan scoring only five minutes later. However James Maloney missed the conversion to keep the Knights in front by two.
Adam Macdougall extended the visitor's lead in the 37th minute when he muscled his way over. Kurt Gidley nailed the conversion from the right touchline.
The homeside were given an opportunity to go right on the attack early in the second half- receiving three repeat sets only ten meters out in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
However Ivan Cleary's side failed to make the most of their opportunities as the Knights' defence held strong.
It was the visitors who were butchering opportunities ten meters later as their halves struggled to find some creativity.
Manu Vatuvei was the hero for the home side in the 60th minute with a 30 meter break, he evaded Gidley's tackle before passing to Maloney who scored. Maloney failed to convert his own try.
The home side were on the board again only four minutes later after captain Simon Mannering grounded a perfectly weighted Shaun Johnson kick.
The Warriors did everything they could to lose the match over the next ten minutes as they gifted the Knights good field position.
However Rick Stone's side failed to get over the line courtesy of handling errors and forward passes.
The scoreboard attendant was put back to work in the 77th minute when the Warriors finally put the nail in the coffin when Feleti Mateo scored after a nice dummy half run by Aaron Heremaia.
Maloney extended the lead to eight to put the match out of reach for the visitors.
Both coaches will have a lot to say to their sides following the match, with both teams conceding too many silly penalties and making too many errors.
New Zealand Warriors 20 defeated Newcastle Knights 12
National Rugby League - Round 23 - Saturday August 13, 2011 5:30pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Jason Walsh
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 12 Newcastle Knights 4
New Zealand Warriors (20)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Simon Mannering, Feleti Mateo, Shaun Johnson
Conversions: James Maloney (2/4)
Newcastle Knights (12)
Tries: Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening folks and welcome to Mt Smart Stadium where the New Zealand Warriors take on the Newcastle Knights.
Both sides are currently on 26 competition points, with the home side sitting seventh on for and against and the Knights rounding up the eight.
In the Toyota Cup the Warriors took out the match with 44-8 victory.
The Knights have announced one late change to their 17 named on Tuesday afternoon, Matt Hilder is out and will be replaced by Keith Lulia on the bench. For the Warriors Sam Rapira comes into the starting side at prop with Jaccob Lillyman starting on the bench.
Kurt Gidley has just lead his side onto the field, we should have kick off shortly.
1 min: Shane Hayne has just blown time on and the match is under way.
1 min: Sam Rapira has lost the ball on the second tackle. The Knights will get a scrum feed on the 20 meter line.
3 min: Gidley chips it over the top on the fourth, Kevin Locke is there to clean it up but is tackled over the dead ball line by Adam Macdougall. Line dropout for the Knights.
4 min: Jarrod Mullen fires a short ball to Chris Houstan on the 2nd but Houstan over runs it and Kevin Locke is there to take the intercept.
5 min: Shaun Johnson kicks it out on the full 45 meters out from the Knights' line and Newcastle will get some more good field position.
6 min: Mullen attempts a grubber into the in goal on the last but Locke is there to clean it up a meter from the try line.
7 min: Warriors make over 50 meters on their set before Maloney boots it down the field. It bounces over the sideline 15 meters out.
7 min: Chris Houstan is down after a tackle by Joel Moon. Hayne has called time off. It looks like he may have copped a finger in the eye.
8 min: Time is back on and Houstan looks to be okay.
8 min: Knights run it on the last before Sau kicks it and it goes straight to Tupou on his own 20 who runs 30 meters before being tackled.
9 min: Knights are off the hook after a good set by Warriors after a Feleti Mateo offload goes over the side line 20 meters out from the Knights' try line.
10 min: Knights finish their set only 30 meters from the tryline before Gidley grubbers it, but it is all too easy for the Warriors to diffuse.
11 min: The Warriors will get a piggyback up the field after Newcastle concede a penalty.
12 min: Shaun Johnson kicks it from ten out on the last and Evarn Tuimavave is there to clean it up but he is ruled offside and the Warriors will get another 6 only ten out.
13 min: Russell Packer loses it ten out from the Knights line and the Knights are off the hook.
14 min: The Warriors concede a penalty in the scrum and the Knights will get a piggyback up the field.
15 min: Mullen kicks it from 15 out on the last. McManus is there to take the bomb but knocks it on in goal.
16 min: Knights are penalised for being offside and now the Warriors will get a piggyback up the field.
17 min: Locke loses the ball only 20 out from the Knights line after an inside pass from James Maloney.
18 min: Mullen breaks the line after running it on the last 40 out but he knocks the ball on in shaping to kick it.
19 min: Warriors are making some great meters here.
19 min: Great kick return from Mullen, he catches it 10 out from his own line and runs to the 40.
21 min: Mullen kicks it from 20 out and Kevin Locke fields it a meter out, he runs 60 meters before being tackled and throwing a wayward pass.
21 min: Now the Warriors concede a penalty for being off side 10 meters into the Knights half.
22 min: We might have a try to the Knights here, Hayne just wants it to be checked for obstruction.
24 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen puts in a clever little grubber for Uate on the fourth tackle and Uate scores the opening try for the Knights. Gidley's conversion from the right touchline is successful.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
25 min: A good set from the Knights before Mullen kicks it on the last from his own forty, but he puts a little too much on it and it goes dead in goal.
26 min: Warriors will go on the attack after the Knights are pinned for being offside.
27 min: Joel Edwards is on report for a high shot on Feleti Mateo and the Warriors will get six more.
29 min: TRY
The Warriors spread it out wide to Berrigan scores the first try for the home side. Locke is down in back play. Conversion by James Maloney is unsuccessful.
Newcastle Knights 6-4
30 min: Warriors are trapped in their own 40 on the last after a good defensive set by Knights. Johnson's kick goes under 30 meters.
31 min: Knights lose the ball 40 out.
32 min: Warriors make some great meters on their set before Maloney fires a bomb 30 out from the Knights' line on the last but Uate is there to take it for the Knights.
33 min: Knights get a penalty 20 out from their own line.
33 min: Knights make it to the Warriors 35 on the last and decide to run it. Sau puts in a grubber only 20 out but Locke is their to clean it up.
34 min: Warriors finish their set in their own half before Maloney boots it down field.
35 min: Warriors are penalised 20 out from the Knights line and the Knights will get some more good field position.
36 min: Adam Macdougall may have a try here.
37 min: TRY
Chris Ward awards the try to Adam Macdougall. The try was created by a step from Stig before the Knights spread it out wide quickly. Gidley's conversion attempt is successful.
Newcastle Knights 12-4
39 min: Knights make it to halfway before Mullen boots it down field.
39 min: Tupou nearly breaks through the line before passing to Maloney who knocks it on in traffic 40 out from his own line.
40 min: Stig kicks into the in goal on the last but Berrigan is able to take it on the full.
41 min: James Maloney kicks off to bring the second half under way at Mt Smart.
41 min: The Warriors trap the Knights in their own 40 in the opening set of the second half. Stigg kicks it down field and it is fielded by Locke 15 out from his try line.
42 min: Warriors make it to halfway on the last before Maloney fires a bomb which Gidley has no problem diffusing.
43 min: Knights finish their set 10 meters into the Warriors' half before Mullen fires a spiralling bomb which Locke does very well to take before being hammered by the defence.
44 min: Warriors make it to halfway before Johnson goes high again and Gidley is there again.
45 min: Mannering puts pressure on Mullen on the last and he gets sloppy kick away which goes out 15 meters from the Warriors line.
46 min: Maloney fires a bomb from 50 meters out on the last and Kurt Gidley knocks it on a meter out from his line. The Warriors will get a scrum only 10 meters out.
48 min: Knights are penalised and the tackle count will restart for the Warriors.
49 min: Macdougall gets a touch on the ball in a tackle and it goes loose and the Warriors will get six more.
49 min: Tupou drops the ball 10 out from the Knights' line after a quick pass from Berrigan.
51 min: Neville Costigan loses the ball 40 out from the Warriors line just as the Knights looked to be creating something down the right side.
52 min: James Maloney kicks it from 30 out on the last and Kevin Locke and Kurt Gidley contest the ball, but Gidley wins the battle.
53 min: Mullen attempts a 40/20 on the 4th it goes far enough but stays in the field of play.
54 min: Maloney kicks it from 40 out on the last and McManus falls on the ball but loses it and Hayne rules knock on. Warriors scrum 30 out from the Knights' line.
55 min: Maloney is pinned for a forward pass to Mannering straight off the back of the scrum and Knights are off the hook.
56 min: Warriors are penalised on halfway for a high shot.
58 min: Mullen puts up a banana kick on the last and it goes backwards into the arms of his players. Uate catches the ball and passes to Stigg who is hammered in a tackle.
60 min: TRY
Manu Vatavei makes a beautiful 30 meter break up the field after a nice offload, Gidley grabs him around the legs but Vatuvei is able to get back up, he passes to Johnson who scores. Maloney's conversion is unsuccessful.
Newcastle Knights 12-8
62 min: Uate knocks the ball on only a meter out from his own line after a beautiful kick by Shaun Johnson stops in goal.
63 min: Mannering may have scored for the Warriors here, just checking a possible knock on.
65 min: TRY
Shaun Johnson puts through a perfectly weighted grubber on the last which turns the Knights defence around and Simon Mannering is there to ground the ball for the home side. Maloney kicks his first successful conversion of the evening.
New Zealand Warriors 14-12
65 min: Warriors have a good set to follow up the try with Maloney booting it down field from halfway.
66 min: The Knights complete their set 30 out from the Warriors' line before Houstan puts in a kick which is fielded by Warriors' ten out.
67 min: Newcastle are penalised for being offside on halfway and the Warriors will have a chance to consolidate their lead.
68 min: Berrigan throws the ball to nobody a few meters from the Knights' line and Gidley is there to bounce on the loose ball for the Knights.
69 min: Mullen kicks it down field from a few meters inside his own half and Locke fields it 10 meters from his own line before making it to his 30.
70 min: Johnson goes to the air 30 out from the Knights' line but he has no chasers and Gidley diffuses the kick a meter from his own line before running 20 meters.
71 min: Stig is pinned for a forward pass 35 out from the Warriors line as the Knights' spread it out wide on the last.
72 min: Maloney kicks it on the 4th only 20 meters out from the Knights line both Gidley and Locke contest the ball again and Gidley wins the contest and is forced to run it out from his own in goal. He is tackled by Locke before Vatuvei tackles him back into the in goal but Hayne penalises Vatuvei for a flop.
73 min: Knights get another penalty only 40 out from the Warriors' line.
74 min: Fa'aoso loses the ball only 20 meters out from the line and the Warriors are off the hook.
75 min: The Warriors complete their set on halfway before Maloney kicks it low down the field Gidley fields it 15 out from his own line.
76 min: Fa'aoso loses the ball again. The Warriors will get a scrum on halfway.
78 min: TRY
A beautiful dummy half run by Aaron Heremaia busts the Knights' defence open, he offloads to Maloney who passes to Mateo who scores. Maloney has no problem adding the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 20-12
80 min: The full time siren sounds and the Warriors have taken out a thrilling match at Mt Smart.