Full Time
3:00pm Sat March 14, 2020
Round 1 - McDonald Jones Stadium, New Lambton / Awabakal - Crowd: 10239

Match Overview

The Newcastle Knights opened their 2020 account with a strong 20-0 win over the visiting Warriors, who have a cloud over their future in this season's competition following Coronavirus developments back home.

Shortly after kickoff, the NZ government announced a travel restriction indicating anyone arriving in the country after 12am Monday (midnight Sunday) - which immediately puts a question as to how the club can logisitically manage being part of the NRL in coming weeks.

The issues didn't phase the Knights though, who dominated the contest throughout.

Daniel Saifiti got the hosts on the board first, with the bustling front rower crashing over near the posts, converted comfortably by Kalyn Ponga.

Nine minutes later a handy overlap appeared after a deflected kick and Newcastle used the numbers left to put Edrick Lee over. Ponga missed the extras on that occasion, but booted two penalty goals toward the end of the half to push the lead to 14-0.

The Warriors had a nightmarish first half as well, copping a slew of penalties and having Chanel Harris-Tavita sin-binned after referee Henry Perenara's patience ran out.

The second half was a defensive slog in tough, wet conditions - the only points were a superb Ponga try set up by a Mitchell Pearce kick - then the hosts held their opponents out comfortably for the remaining time on the clock.

Attention now turns to NRL HQ and the Warriors club as to how this all tracks - one thing's for certain though, with next week's Eden Park clash against the Raiders almost certainly not happening, at least not in New Zealand.

Stay tuned for Coronavirus NRL updates here.

3. Mitchell Pearce

2. Kalyn Ponga

1. Daniel Saifiti