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The New Zealand Warriors have run out 32-24 winners over the Newcastle Knights in a seesawing, entertaining affair at Newcastle's Energy Australia Stadium this afternoon.
The game never reached great heights of intensity. However it was a game played between two teams desperate to stay in touch with the semi final race and, whilst the defence of both teams left a fair bit to be desired, the crowd of ten and a half thousand witnessed some spectacular tries and an enthralling contest.
The knights started the stronger, despite running into a stiff breeze, and went ahead in just the fifth minute when Naiqama put a beautiful short ball onto the chest of Junior Sau. However the Warriors hit back quickly, Joel Moon showing great strength and evasion to step and barge his way over. The teams traded another try each to go to the break at 12 all.
The Warriors started the stronger in the second half, some continued pressure leading to a try from a bomb. The Knights again levelled the scores in the 56th minute with what was probably the try of the match. Jarrod Mullen linked with Junior Sau deep in his own half, Sau found a flying Akuila Uate, who troubled the Warriors defence all afternoon, using his lightning pace and swerve to race away. The Warriors hit back in equal style, a bullocking Lewis Brown tearing the Knights apart to set up Vatuvei. A very soft-looking penalty for a late tackle on the kicker gave the Warriors an eight point buffer, the biggest lead of the game.
Despite another Knight's try, this time brilliantly set up by Uate, the Warriors held on to win, sealing the match with two minutes to go when Joel Moon seized on a loose Newcastle pass deep in the Knight's own half.
Both teams will need to improve their intensity, defence and particularly last-tackle options if they are to trouble the competition frontrunners but the Warriors now move to just outside the eight, whereas the Knight's are almost out of time.
Newcastle Knights 24 were defeated by New Zealand Warriors 32
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 14 - Sunday June 13, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Tony De Las Heras and Steve Lyons
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Ricky McFarlane
Crowd: 10, 535
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 12 New Zealand Warriors 12
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (24)
Tries: Zeb Taia, Matt Hilder, Junior Sau, Akuila Uate
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (4/4)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (32)
Tries: Manu Vatuvei (2), Jeremy Latimore, Joel Moon, James Maloney
Conversions: James Maloney (5/5)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We are almost ready for kick-off here at Newcastle's EAS. Conditions look good, Adam McDougall has been a late withdrawal for Newcastle.
1 min: We are underway here in Newcastle, Knights kick off into a stiff breeze.
2 min: Knights go so close in their first set after Uate makes a long break. Mullen knocks on on the next tackle.
5 min: TRY
Knights have had all the ball in the first 5 minutes after some Warrior's errors. A beautiful Naiqama short-ball puts Sau over.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
10 min: TRY
End to end stuff here in Newcastle. Moon bullocks his way over after an enteprising Warriors set.
14 min: Both teams attacking strongly, Knights unlucky not to recieve a repeast set when the teackle to trap Hohaia in goal ends up high.
18 min: TRY
Vatuvei strolls over for a very simple short-range try after smart dummy half lead up work from Aaron Heremaia.
New Zealand Warriors 12-6
21 min: Knights have a couple of sets on the Warriors line, going to the video ref to check if Uate has been held up....
23 min: TRY
Uate was held up but the Knights score on the next tackle after a Scott Dureau grubber takes a deflection off a Warriors leg into the arms of Taia.
25 min: This strong breeze is playing havoc with the long kicks of both teams, the Warriors kick off sails out on the full.
30 min: Knights come close after Uate chases a clever Dureau kick, but knocks on trying to regather.
33 min: Warriors gift the Knights a penalty, three men carrying a Knights player over the sideline after repeated calls of held from the ref.
35 min: Knights fans giving to Refereee Lyons after he collides with a Knights player screaming through on a Jarrod Mullen bomb
39 min: Knights defend well to hold out repeat sets from the Warriors just before half time.
40 min: Half Time here, 12-all. Been an entertaining game, but plenty of errors. Knights will fancy their chances after running into a very stiff breeze in the first half.
41 min: Back underway here at EAS in Newcastle.
43 min: Warriors have started the second half well, going close to scoring through Moon and now forcing a repeat set.
45 min: The Knights throw Vatuvei into tuch just short of the line, but Naiqama very lucky not to penalised for a dusty-looking trip on Hohaia
50 min: Some classic Warriors hot-potato play leads to them going close, but Naiqama does well to cover Vatuvei.
53 min: TRY
The Warriors have definately had the best of the second half, replacement forward Latimore is on the spot to take a pinpoint Hohaia bomb and dive over next to the sticks.
New Zealand Warriors 18-12
56 min: TRY
Sensational hit-back from the Knights, Mullen and Sau combine beautifully to release the flying Uate from deep in their own half. Uate uses pace and deception to finish superbly.
62 min: TRY
Now the Warriors hit back and take the lead, Lewis Brown makes a sensational break, beating three Knights defenders with brute strength to set up Vatuvei.
New Zealand Warriors 24-18
64 min: Knights with a good chance here after Hohaia catches the ball off the kick off, and throws a forward pass.
67 min: Warriors hold on in defence and will now shoot for a penalty goal after a very soft late tackle penalty.
67 min: PENALTY GOAL
Maloney makes no mistake with the penalty shot.
New Zealand Warriors 26-18
71 min: TRY
The Knights are back in it, again thanks largely to Uate, who caught a Mullen bomb and offloaded brilliantly to support looming up inside.
New Zealand Warriors 26-24
75 min: Five minutes to go, the Warriors are clinging desperately to a two-point lead, but the Knights go on the attack with a penalty
76 min: Mannering may have saved the game for the Warriors, cutting down DeGois with a sycthing low tackle when the Knights looked likely.
79 min: TRY
THe Warrirors look to have sealed it here, Joel Moon seizing on a desperate, loose Knights pass and offloading to Maloney.
New Zealand Warriors 32-24
80 min: Thats fulltime. Warriros win 32-24.