League: Warriors make the most of mistakes

By Peter Jessup

WARRIORS 26
KNIGHTS 20

So many tries these days are scored off the back of penalties.

That was the case with five of the eight touchdowns at Mt Smart yesterday as the Warriors led all the way to beat Newcastle.

In the end the Knights were stopped from pushing into a third overtime game by a Logan Swann intercept 5m from their line and with 10 seconds to go.

The Warriors kicking game was good yesterday, keeping the ball away from Knights star Kurt Gidley who had few chances with the ball. The defence was better, more communication than had been the case when they were thrashed in Manly. Lance Hohaia was probably again their stand-out, and shapes as the test utility, but yesterday he had back-up across the field.

New centre Ryan Shortland had two tries within 16 minutes and played well all day. They came through undamaged and with no judiciary issues.

Their football manager John Hart rated it a "bigger win than people might realise given where they've come from this week". Captain Ruben Wiki said they wanted to earn respect from each other, the club and their fans after the 52-6 fall in Manly.

There were some good signs yesterday but more work needs to be done.

It was an early run of penalties that gave the home team momentum as Newcastle slowed the play-the-ball. The count finished around even and around average for an NRL game but by then the Warriors were home.

"I thought there could have been more," Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said of the 11-9 count in their favour.

His opposite Brian Smith agreed that any team who conceded repeat penalties would struggle.


The first of Shortland's touchdowns came from quick hands off a scrum and the second dotting down Nathan Fien's grubber. Both followed two consecutive penalties against the Knights - it was what the Warriors had done to themselves in Manly last Monday.

The Warriors went 14 minutes before an error yesterday and maintaining that pressure brought 14 points before the Knights got a look-in with territory and possession. When they did, they fell to poor mistakes. By mid-half they were seven-nil down in the penalty count and skipper Danny Buderus was arguing the toss with the referee Tony Des Las Heras.

The Warriors got to the kick on all but one of their first half sets of six but offered Newcastle some hope late in the half when Michael Witt got cramped against Brent Tate and failed to get the kick away. That looked strange but it was even stranger next play when Hohaia lashed at a Knights' kick to the in-goal but instead of sending it, dead booted it across the in-goal for Wes Naiqama to score.

Cory Paterson followed through some tired defence and it was 14-12 at the break.

The Knights gave the home side a penalty to open the second spell and the Warriors went to the 40 metre line and scored on their third play through Evarn Tuimavave.

When Patrick Ah Van took a Knights kick to goal on the full and hit clear space, the 11,518 in the stadium came to their feet and as he crossed half way and the last chaser Scott Dureau dived at and missed Ah Van's ankles, they erupted, game over.

Witt's 100 per cent goalkicking record reached 15 yesterday and was the difference in the four-tries-each game, before he skied one from in front.

It was a good workout for the Warriors and a confidence booster ahead of next week's home game against the Bulldogs.

- NZ Herald

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