Another four players were added to the Magpies lengthy injury list after tonight's 40-27 loss to the Wellington Lions in the capital.
Thirteen players were unavailable for the match and after the final whistle Magpies head coach Craig Philpott learnt lock Geoff Cridge and Tony Lamborn won't be available for Sunday's match against Otago in Napier in Napier after failing head checks. Flanker Lucas Goodin collected a shoulder injury and prop Jason Long collected a knock.
"We're particularly desperate for loosies as Ben Hamelink was concussed when playing for the Saracens last weekend too," Philpott said.
The Magpies made a good start and retained possession for 10 phases during the first two minutes before conceding a soft turnover. First five-eighth and world champion Baby Black Tiaan Falcon gave the Magpies a 3-0 lead with a penalty from 39 metres out in the sixth minute.
However a poor reception at the kickoff, one of the visitors work ons in the buildup to the match, from Magpies lock Nick Palmer allowed the momentum to swing the Lions way.
After a sequence of play which lasted 12 phases Lions winger and former All Black Julian Savea scored in the 12th minute with his first touch of the ball and first five-eighth Jackson Garden-Bachop added the conversion.
Both teams were guilty of conceding numerous turnovers until Wellington hooker Sitiveni Paongo crashed over for a try in the 20th minute. Paongo and his fellow Lions forwards including former Magpies prop Tolu Fahamokioa had done plenty of damage during the buildup.
Seven minutes later another world champion Baby Black, prop Alex Fidow, charged over for a soft try which Garden-Bachop converted to put the Lions ahead 19-3. This was bad news for the Magpies and so was Hurricanes lock Geoff Cridge's failing of a concussion test during the second quarter.
The Magpies thought they were back in touch when hooker Jacob Devery was shoved over for a try from close range in the 36th minute. But it wasn't given the thumbs up by the television match official Jared Clarke.
However two minutes and 13 phases later second five-eighth Cardiff Vaega scored to have the Magpies trailing 19-8 at halftime. Once again missed tackles proved costly for the Magpies.
The 18 misses before halftime is far too many at ths level.
The Magpies biggest positive at the end of the first 40 was their discipline. Canterbury referee Jamie Nutbrown awarded one penalty against them and six in their favour.
More missed tackles from the Magpies and a poor clearance kick from fullback Richard Buckman had the Lions hot on attack immediately after halftime. Fidow had his second try and the Lions bonus point try in the 42nd minute which Garden-Bachop converted.
Falcon put the kick off out on the full and the Magpies were on the back foot again. Busy centre Wes Goosen scored the Lions fifth try in the 47th minute and Garden-Bachop was again on target with the extras.
Magpies substitute loosie Fa'alemiga Selesele was unluky to lose the ball forward over the tryline in the 51st minute. To their credit the Magpies never threw the towel in and were rewarded with a try to Long in the 64th minute to have the visitors trailing 33-13.
Hawke's Bay dominated possession in the second half but five handling errors during the third quarter proved costly.
The Lions extended their lead in the 71st minute when substitute outside back Malo Tuitama scored after a clever move involving fullback Andrew Wells and former Magpies pivot Daniel Kirkpatrick who was a late sub for the hosts and added the conversion.
A minute later Magpies winger Sam McNicol scored after winning the chase to a tidy grubber from Buckman. Falcon converted to have the deficit reduced to 20.
Substitute hooker Jorian Tangaere drived over for the final try of the match which his Clive teammate Falcon converted.