Warriors rebound, beating Knights 26-20

nz warriors win at home nrl round 4 2008The New Zealand Warriors recovered quickly from last weeks horror loss to Manly, recording a 26-20 victory over a spirited Newcastle Knights outfit at Mt Smart Stadium today.

Still reeling from their 52-6 hiding at the hands of the Sea-Eagles last Monday, the Warriors burst out of the blocks, posting 14 points in as many minutes to record just their second win of the season.

The Knights tried desperately to push the match into their third consecutive golden point match, with the small but vocal crowd of 11,518, treated to a grandstand finish, with the Warriors defence holding firm to repel the visitor’s final attacking raids.

After a period of sustained pressure, the Warriors were able to post first points courtesy of a 9th minute penalty goal to sharpshooter Michael Witt.

The home side went further ahead just four minutes later, with debutant Warriors centre Ryan Shortland finishing off a well rehearsed backline movement to dive over in the corner.

Witt continued his brilliant season with the boot, converting from the sideline to push the Warriors out to a handy 8-0 advantage.

Shortland was in again just four minutes later, this time claiming a pinpoint grubber from hooker Nathan Fien to touch down for his second try of the afternoon, with Witt again converting to make it 14-0 in as many minutes.

Newcastle finally got on the board in the 34th minute thanks to a freaky bit of fortune, with Wes Naiqama the recipient of an innocuous Jarrod Mullen grubber that ricocheted past a handful of players in-goal.

Knights custodian Kurt Gidley converted from in front to make it 14-6.

Newcastle were in again on the stroke of half-time, this time backrower Cory Paterson accepting a sublime Scott Dureau pass to barge over, with another Gidley conversion making it 14-12 to the home side at the break.

The Warriors burst out of the blocks posting a try to Evarn Tuimavave inside the opening five minutes, with Witt’s fourth conversion pushing the home sides lead out to 20-12.

A 61st minute try to Knights winger James McManus got the visitors close, but a 90 metre intercept by Patrick Ah Van in the 67th minute all but wrapped up the match for the home side.

Naiqama’s second four-pointer got the Knights to within six points inside the final two minutes, but the Warriors defence held firm.

New Zealand now play host to the Canterbury Bulldogs next Sunday, while the Knights will face off against the Brisbane Broncos, also next Sunday.

New Zealand Warriors 26
Tries: Ryan Shortland 2, Evarn Tuimavave, Patrick Ah Van
Goals: Michael Witt 5
defeated
Newcastle Knights 20
Tries: Wes Naiqama, Cory Paterson, James McManus
Goals: Kurt Gidley 2

At Mt Smart Stadium

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