NRL: Mannering leads Warriors past Knights

By David Skipwith

Simon Mannering of the Warriors celebrates after scoring a try during the round 12 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Newcastle Knights. Photo / Getty Images.
Simon Mannering of the Warriors celebrates after scoring a try during the round 12 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Newcastle Knights. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors 38
Knights 18

Captain Simon Mannering celebrated his double milestone match with two tries helping the Warriors to a 38-18 "homecoming" win over the Newcastle Knights today.

In his 200th club appearance and 100th as skipper, Mannering touched down twice in the first-half and turned in a typically energetic display, in the Warriors first match at Mt Smart Stadium this season.

Additional four-pointers from Sam Tomkins and Manu Vatuvei helped the hosts out to a 22-12 half-time lead, before they saw off a short-lived second-half comeback from the Knights to seal the result with tries to Chad Townsend, Konrad Hurrell, and a second to Vatuvei.

The Knights struggled to get out of their half during the early exchanges but a Vatuvei knock-on quickly presented them with an attacking scrum, before Jarrod Mullen kicked towards the posts for his halves partner Tyrone Roberts to collect and score under the bar for the first points of the afternoon.

The Warriors then managed to benefit from the Knights quick defensive line, when halfback Shaun Johnson was forced to pass on the last tackle instead of kick. Five-eighth Townsend found Mannering with a cut-out ball, before the talismanic back-rower grubbered through and re-gathered to barge over out wide for their first try.

The Warriors halves then began peppering rookie Knights winger Josh Mantellato with kicks, with a well-weighted effort from Townsend stranding him ingoal, before a bomb from Johnson was tapped back by Vatuvei into the hands of Tomkins, who dived over to score their second.

Mantellato was again exposed soon after, when Johnson repeated the tactic to find Vatuvei cleanly for their third, before nailing his second conversion to put them ahead by 10.

Things were looking ominous for the visitors but they Roberts caught Tomkins out of position with a kick along the turf, to see Joey Leilua ground the ball ingoal to keep the Knights in the hunt.

The Warriors looked in danger of losing their momentum but profited when Mullen inexplicably kicked out on the full inside the Knights' half with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

On the next set, Feleti Mateo showed his value as an impact player when he arrived to lay on a flat ball for Mannering to run in his second, with Johnson again converting to restore the 10-point buffer as the teams headed to the sheds.

The Knights fought back early in the second-half with a try to back-rower Robbie Rochow, before Townsend capitalised on a Chris Houston mistake to run in the Warriors fifth.

Late tries to Hurrell and Vatuvei blew the score out and ensured the 19,068 strong crowd when home smiling.

Warriors 38 (Simon Mannering 2, Sam Tomkins, Manu Vatuvei 2, Chad Townsend, Konrad Hurrell tries; Shaun Johnson 3 con)

Newcastle Knights 18 (Tyrone Roberts, Joseph Leilua, Robbie Rocho tries; Mantellato 3 cons)

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