Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Newcastle's return to form hit a high note in Auckland today, with the Knights running out 36-18 victors over the Warriors in front of 14,975 fans.
With Mitchell Pearce leading the way, Newcastle never trailed throughout the contest, picking up a Kalyn Ponga penalty goal after two minutes and crossing for their opening try through Pearce within the first ten.
The Warriors hit back not long after, newcomer to the side Patrick Herbert scoring a superb try on the right edge. Chanel Harris-Tavita's conversion closed the gap to two points.
At the quarter-mark of the game Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored the Knights second after a high ball contest, the conversion from Ponga pushing the visitors back to an eight-point lead.
A Ponga penalty goal would increase that to ten points with halftime approaching, but the Warriors kept themselves in the contest with a converted Ken Maumalo try at the 35-minute mark, trailing 16-12 at the break.
The Knights were more than happy to continue to benefit from some poor discipline in the danger zone by the home side, and six minutes after the resumption of play Ponga had another two-pointer from a penalty.
The closest the Warriors got was to level the scores after 53 minutes, where Maumalo scored his second and with the Harris-Tavita extras it was all tied up.
A number of minutes later and Newcastle re-asserted their status with Sione Mata'utia taking advantage of some poor Warriors defence.
With twelve minutes remaining the result was firmly in the Knights' keeping when Ponga crossed for another Newcastle try. This try seemingly broke the Warriors' spirits, Ponga's second coming from a beautiful line break where he left RTS in the dust, and then converting that try and adding a last-minute penalty goal to ice an important victory.
The Warriors remain on just four competition points and face a daunting task against the Dragons next Saturday in Magic Round. Prior to their 5:30pm clash the Knights will host a Bulldogs team keen to bounce back from their loss to Manly yesterday.
Warriors 18 - Newcastle Knights 36
Venue: Rarotonga Mt Smart Stadium
Halftime Score: Warriors 12 Newcastle Knights 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Mitchell Pearce
2 points - David Klemmer
1 points - Kalyn Ponga
Tries: Patrick Herbert, Ken Maumalo (2)
Conversions: Chanel Harris-tavita (3/3)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (36)
Tries: Kalyn Ponga, Hymel Hunt, Mitchell Pearce, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sione Mata'utia
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Kalyn Ponga (4/4)