Desperate to break a run of four straight losses at home, the New Zealand Warriors have moved up to sixth after a win over the Newcastle Knights.
In a rather dominating and impressive display, the 20-8 win is a timely boost for the Warriors at the business end.
Celebrating Issac Luke’s 250th game, it was one to remember for the enigmatic hooker.
Despite the best efforts of fellow 250-gamer, Knights halfback Mitch Pearce, it was not to be for the Novocastrians.
It was the Knights who hit the lead first, as Ken Sio weaved in and out past defenders before carrying three of them over to score.
The slow start failed to phase the Warriors who eventually found their mojo and whipped themselves into submission.
A pass from Gerard Beale that popped up produced a rare try for the barnstorming Adam Blair.
A second try soon followed as David Fusitu’a bulldozed over Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga to score in the corner.
The timely try and subsequent conversions gave the Warriors a handy buffer.
Try as they might, the Warriors could not score again for a while but five-eighth Blake Green changed all that.
Slicing through some wafer-thin defence, Green weaved in and out to score.
The only further points came courtesy of a late penalty goal to give the Warriors a 20-4 win.
Although his side produced a sound performance to win, Stephen Kearney wants more from his side.
“The polish with our attack, I just don’t think that’s quite where we want it yet,” Kearney said.
“I thought our attack was probably just tinkering on really clicking tonight.
“We’ve probably been a little bit like that over the last month.
“To me it’s a bit of individual skill and detail so that’s the focus for us, particularly this week.”
He praised his side’s defence but wants to a more clinical attack in the coming weeks before finals.
“I think defensively over the last couple of weeks we’ve shown what we are capable of and that’s got to be the base standard for us,” Kearney continued.
“That’s definitely the area of improvement, the polish in our attack.”
The reason for the Warriors win according to Knights coach Nathan Brown; their back three. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo and Fusitu’a.
“We didn’t handle their back three as good as we’d have liked. Roger [Warriors skipper Tuisava-Sheck] had a bit of a day out and the two big wingers are big powerful men,” Brown said.
“Back threes play such a big part in our contests today and Roger is up there as good as any and the two wingers, they’re big, big men, so they’ve got a good nucleus there to really build some momentum if they have their best players in the field.
Player of the Game:
3. Adam Blair
2. David Fusitu’a
- Blake Green