JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

NZ Warriors put Knights' finals hopes to the sword


Brett Keeble

NZ Warriors 38 Newcastle 18

Winners are grinners: Manu Vatuvei manages a smile through a pile of Knights bodies after crashing through for a try.

Winners are grinners: Manu Vatuvei manages a smile through a pile of Knights bodies after crashing through for a try. Photo: Hannah Peters

The New Zealand Warriors all but snuffed out Newcastle's already faint finals hopes with a 38-18 thumping of the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

In their first game since former owner Nathan Tinkler and his Hunter Sports Group management company severed ties, the Knights tried hard and hung in for long periods, but paid the price for unforced errors to slump to their fifth consecutive loss and ninth from 11 games this season.

Sitting equal last alongside Cronulla on six points, the Knights face the highly improbable task of having to win 10 of their last 13 games to return to the finals.

On the charge: Sam Tomkins of the Warriors.

On the charge: Sam Tomkins of the Warriors. Photo: Getty Images

Warriors versus Newcastle
View Match Statistics
Players Mannering(2), Tomkins, Vatuvei(2), Townsend, Hurrell Tries 7 Tries 3 Players Roberts, Leilua, Rochow
Players Johnson 5/7 (71%) Conversions 5 Conversions 3 Players Mantellato 3/3 (100%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

The immediate future looks much rosier for the Warriors, who have won four of their past five games to move into the logjam on the edge of the top eight.

It was the Warriors' eighth win from their past nine games against the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium, and captain Simon Mannering celebrated the twin milestones of his 200th game for the club and 100th as skipper with two first-half tries including one from his own grubber kick.

Giant winger Manu Vatuvei also bagged a brace for the Warriors in their first appearance at their spiritual home ground this season, after three matches at Eden Park and another in Wellington, in front of an appreciative crowd of 19,068.

The Knights made an encouraging start, posting first points in the sixth minute when Tyrone Roberts caught Jarrod Mullen's kick to the middle to touch down under the posts. Towering winger Josh Mantellato, in his second NRL start as a late replacement for the injured Aku Uate (knee), converted from in front for a 6-0 lead.

Newcastle suffered a blow in the 10th minute when prop Kade Snowden took an accidental knee to the head trying to tackle Ben Matulino and he was helped from the field on wobbly legs.

Finding room to move up the middle and on the fringes, the Warriors struck back with three tries in 13 minutes -- all from kicks -- to take a 16-6 lead by the 24th minute.

Captain Mannering was an unlikely first try-scorer for the home team, regathering his own grubber kick to score in the 11th minute, and the Warriors backed that up with two more from Shaun Johnson cross-field bombs.

Manu Vatuvei, making up for an earlier handling error that led to Newcastle's first try, flew above Mantellato to bat Johnson's kick back for fullback Sam Tomkins to score in the 18th minute, then Vatuvei combined with Johnson again six minutes later to out-leap Mantellato and score one for himself.

Warriors wrecking-ball Konrad Hurrell suffered an apparent arm injury after in the 23rd minute but returned 11 minutes later, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Just when it looked like the Warriors would run away with the game, the Knights hit back in the 30th minute when centre Joey Leilua recovered a Roberts grubber behind the Warriors' defensive line to touch down.

Mantellato converted to cut the deficit to four points and the Knights would have been satisfied trailing by that margin at the break but playmaker Jarrod Mullen's attempted trick shot 90 seconds from half-time back-fired.

Inside their own defensive red zone, Mullen tried to chip kick for winger James McManus but the ball went out on the full to hand the ball back to the Warriors in prime field position.

The Warriors needed just a couple of plays before Feleti Mateo flicked a pass to Mannering, who crashed over for his second try.

Newcastle refused to yield, clawing back within four points again when Roberts spun in a tackle and passed for Robbie Rochow to score in the 53rd minute, and Mantellato's conversion made it 22-18.

But when Chris Houston spilled a pass under minimal pressure 25 metres from his own line, Ngani Laumape picked up the crumbs to send Chad Townsend over for his first try in Warriors colours and a 28-18 lead in the 63rd minute.

A restarted tackle count gave the Warriors another attacking set deep in Newcastle territory and Johnson and Tomkins combined to send Hurrell over in the corner in the 74th minute.

Vatuvei emerged from a pile of bodies on the Newcastle line to score his second try a minute before full-time, and Johnson converted from the sideline after the siren.

The Warriors made a clean sweep of the three grades, accounting for the Knights 34-12 in NSW Cup and 34-22 in the National Youth Cup (under-20s).

WARRIORS 38 (S Mannering 2, M Vatuvei 2, S Tomkins, C Townsend, K Hurrell tries; S Johnson 5 goals) d KNIGHTS 18 (T Roberts, J Leilua, R Rochow tries; J Mantellato 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium.

Half-time: Warriors 22-12

Crowd: 19,068

Referees: Gavin Badger, Gavin Reynolds

Report: 52min David Fusitua (Warriors) for striking

3 comments so far

  • Congrats to Simon (Captain) Mannering 200 NRL games, 100 games as Captain. Just another day at the office for the boys. Good to be home at Mt Smart

    Date and time
    June 01, 2014, 4:57PM
    • Oh how the once mighty Knight's have fallen. Congrats to the Warriors on a strong display.

      Date and time
      June 01, 2014, 7:04PM
      • It baffles me why ..The Dragons have sacked their coach, citing bad performances as the main reason, and lets face it, it came as no surprise as all the media vultures where screamming for his job after round 4, Matt Elliot was sacked ffom the Warriors, and once again murdered in the media prior to the season staring, and when the wariiors didn't start off theier season too well, they were baying for blood, and it is not the first time that a coach has been trialed by media and got the flick..Hence Steve Kearney and Ricky Stuart SO one has to ask WHY is nobody calling for Wayne Bennetts head, his performmances in the last 2 seasons have been woeful, especially this season, the knight can't win an argument. Now I am not saying that Wayne Bennett should be sacked, the question I ask is simply..How come all the know it all commentators are not screaming for this to happen as they usually do, look what they did to Dave Furner !! Are they scared of Wayne Bennett ??

        Date and time
        June 02, 2014, 9:52AM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        Live score: Warriors v Newcastle

        Scores from Auckland.

        Kurt Gidley promises Newcastle Knights fans team won't quit

        Forget the finals. The way they are going, the Knights will be flat out beating Wests Tigers at Hunter Stadium next Sunday.

        Top reno job pays off for booming Broncos

        I think we could be witnessing the emergence of the next great Brisbane era.

        Geoff Toovey calms fears of Sea Eagles exodus

        Manly coach Geoff Toovey says Anthony Watmough and Steve Matai are going nowhere.

        Josh Dugan move will be watched closely by Laurie Daley

        St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor could provide Laurie Daley with some food for thought, mulling over moving Josh Dugan to right centre for Monday night's clash against South Sydney.

        Injury-hit Maroons toss up switching Greg Inglis to five-eighth for State of Origin II

        Queensland are contemplating taking one of the biggest gambles of their record eight-year run, weighing up the notion of moving Greg Inglis to five-eighth for game two in Sydney.

        Out of favour Andrew Fifita unlikely to be recalled for State of Origin II

        Test prop Andrew Fifita is at long odds to win his place back in the NSW Origin squad for Origin II unless there is an injury, due to concerns over whether he will fit into the new Blues culture.

        Sam Thaiday back in State of Origin frame as Broncos demolish Manly

        Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday has thundered back into the State of Origin frame as he rebounded from a long-term injury in Brisbane's 36-10 thumping of an off-colour Manly at Suncorp Stadium.

        Paul McGregor gets his first test in Steve Price's shoes

        McGregor, an inaugural co-captain of the Dragons with Mark Coyne in 1999, will begin his audition for the club's vacant coaching job when he oversees the team for the first time in Monday's night's match against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

        Canberra Raiders centre Jack Wighton plays down chances of NSW Origin debut

        Raiders centre Jack Wighton insists there are others ahead of him in the race to replace Josh Morris for NSW.

        Related Coverage

        Four Nations 2014

        Round 1
        Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
        ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
        AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
        NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
        Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
        AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
        NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
        Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
        AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
        NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Four Nations 2014
        Overall standings
        Team P W L +/- Pts
        New Zealand 3 3 0 22 6
        Australia 3 2 1 12 4
        England 3 1 2 0 2
        Samoa 3 0 3 -34 0
        View all
        Featured advertisers