Vodafone Warriors overrun by Knights
Saturday 21 July 2012 7:35 PM
NRL ROUND 20 RESULT
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 24
(A Uate, K Naiqama, T Tahu, D Gagai Tries; T Roberts 4/4 Goals)
VODAFONE WARRIORS 19
(N Friend, S Johnson, B Matulino Tries; J Maloney 3/3 Goals; J Maloney 1/1 Field Goal)
At Mt Smart Stadium.
The Vodafone Warriors have relinquished an 18 point lead in their 24-19 loss to the Knights at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday
After bouncing out of the gates at a rapid rate, the Vodafone Warriors were cruising in the first 20 minutes only to be run down late in the match.
A fantastic opening set from the Warriors set the tone for the match, with fast-paced, free flowing football the mindset of both clubs in the early running.
Like recent weeks, the Vodafone Warriors were looking to use their offloads as a major attacking weapon, and it didn’t take long for the home side to reach into their arsenal with Feleti Mateo offloading to Nathan Friend near the line who dived over for the first points of the match.
A penalty soon after the restart put the Vodafone Warriors directly back on the attack, and it was again Mateo who played a major role in the offence, showing the ball before finding Shaun Johnson who stepped his way to the try line before the defence could blink their eyes. James Maloney made no mistake with the conversion, taking the score to 12-0 after just eight minutes of play.
Despite some promising sets from the Knights in response to the early barrage, the Vodafone Warriors continued to dominate possession and territory. The Knights defence stuck with the home side, and looked good, however, the sheer mountain of ball resulted in another Vodafone Warriors try, with in-form prop Ben Matulino running a beautiful line to crash over next to the posts to continue the point-per-minute scoring.
After some strong runs from Akuila Uate and Danny Buderus, the Knights began to claw their way back into the contest, receiving a much needed penalty to put them on the attack. Chris Houston went within inches off a nice pass from Jarrod Mullen, but the sturdy Warriors defence stayed intact after a fumble in the following play-the-ball.
However, the Knights barrage didn’t end there, the Newcastle men continued to attack the Warriors down the middle before going wide and finding Uate who scored the Knights opener off a superb long pass from Darius Boyd. Tyrone Roberts made no mistake with the sideline conversion, taking the score to 18-6 as this match continued to heat up.
Both sides then exchanged promising attacking raids as they tried to gain the ascendancy at the back end of the first half. Dane Gagai looked good down the right for the Knights, while Lewis Brown looked to have scored a bustling try next to the posts, only to be denied by the video referee.
Not to be deterred, the decision didn’t rattle the Vodafone Warriors, with Maloney bringing smiles to the faces of his teammates by kicking a cheeky field goal to extend the lead with just two minutes remaining in the first half.
It seemed that the 19-6 score would take the teams to the break, especially with the Vodafone Warriors receiving the restart. However, a simple error by Jacob Lillyman gave the Knights one final chance. After taking a few quick hit-ups, the Newcastle men swung the ball left with Boyd again throwing a long ball, this time to Kevin Naiqama, who showed great speed to score with just seconds remaining. Roberts slotted the sideline conversion once again, narrowing the margin to 19-12 as the sides went to the sheds.
Who was your Man of the Match? Vote in the Provan Summons Award here.
The second stanza opened with the same intensity of the first, with both sides attacking from the outset. The Newcastle men gained the first real opportunity of the half, and looked certain to score after a Boyd knock-back. However, the try was disallowed after Uate fumbled the ball in the process of scoring.
The winger, obviously upset at his effort, redeemed himself almost immediately with a powerful catch and return for 50 metres, setting up the Knights to score through Timana Tahu down the left edge, all but eliminating the gaffe from minutes before as the Knights drew within one point.
Both sides continued to attack over the next 20 minutes with the little men coming to the forefront over the tired forwards. It seemed that a promising Maloney kick could lead to points for the Vodafone Warriors, but after a a bobbled pass, Dane Gagai regathered for the Knights, busted two tackles and ran the length of the field to score a fantastic try and give his side a 24-19 lead.
Only some brilliant defence from Konrad Hurrell stopped the Knights extending the scoreline, with the young centre pulling off a fantastic one-on-one tackle to deny Boyd. Hurrell then showed his finesse with a nice grubber into the in-goal area after Maloney made a line break through the heart of the Knights defence two plays earlier.
As the minutes dwindled down the Vodafone Warriors began to throw the ball around far more actively, looking extremely dangerous in the process. The Vodafone Warriors threatened down both edges with their long passing games, but were again under threat when a penalty from Simon Mannering put the Knights within penalty range.
The Newcastle halfback missed the penalty, giving the Vodafone Warriors a last gasp chance of victory. The men from Mount Smart threw everything at the Newcastle side in their last ditch effort, but as the Knights defence held firm, so did the scoreline, the Vodafone Warriors falling to the Knights 24-19 in an epic battle.
Best for the Knights were Jarrod Mullen, Dane Gagai and Darius Boyd, while Best for the Vodafone Warriors were James Maloney, Ben Matulino and Feleti Mateo.
Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering (Leg), Konrad Hurrell (Ankle).
Newcastle Knights: None to Report.
K Locke, B Tupou, B Henry, K Hurrell, O Slaimankhel, J Maloney, S Johnson, R Packer, N Friend, B Matulino, F Mateo, S Mannering (c), E Taylor.
Bench: L Brown, Sione Lousi, J Lillyman, Sam Lousi.
D Boyd, K Naiqama, D Gagai, T Tahu, A Uate, J Mullen, T Roberts, Z Tetevano, D Buderus (c), W Mason, C Houston, J Edwards, A McKinnon.
Bench: N Costigan, R Rochow, Z Taia, A Cuthbertson.
In the NYC match the Vodafone Junior Warriors beat the Knights 24-14.
The Vodafone Warriors travel to Patersons Stadium to take on the Sea Eagles in Round 21 with kick-off at 5:30pm.