TWENTY FOUR POINTS IN 15 MINUTES ENDS WARRIORS LOSING STREAK
For the first thirty-seven minutes of the game New Zealand Warriors were poor in attack. They made plenty of errors through poor passing and Shaun Johnson kicked out on the full at one stage. Final tackle options had a lot left to be desired.
In the next fifteen minutes the home side dominated and put Newcastle away.
The avalanche started with Ben Matulino finding tired on-line defence to barge over three from the break. Blake Ayshford’s try had a little luck with a kick rebounding off a Knights player in the lead-up. Newcastle’s left side defence was left wanting as Tuimoala Lolohea crossed out wide. Their fourth try in fifteen minutes came off a back of rookie Cory Denniss’ error that saw Manu Vatuvei score on his return.
This period of the game ultimately decided the contest.
Pressure’s off ‘Cappy’ McFadden as the Warriors end an eleven match losing streak in the NRL.
SHAUN JOHNSON FINDS FORM
It wasn’t a perfect first half for former Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson but he made up for it with a wonderful final forty in which he was involved in setting up a try and scoring a wonderful solo try with sixteen minutes left on the clock.
Just one blemish with the boot capped off an improved performance for Johnson. Most kicks coming from out wide were nailed.
Now Warriors fans will be hoping that Jeff Robson can follow Johnson’s lead and have more impact on the game. Another quiet day for the veteran half.
THE BEST AND WORSE OF THE KNIGHTS
Danny Buderus said during the half-time break on Fox Sports that the effort of Newcastle in the first half was their best of the season.
Seems like he put the mocker on his side as they could be accused of having their worse half of 2016. It was a half dominated by a low completion rate after being rattled in conceding four tries in a fifteen minute period.
Newcastle lost the final forty 28-6 with Nathan Ross’ late brilliance in beating Roger Tuivasa-Sheck their only highlight.
With the competition so tight, Newcastle need to be on the ball. They can’t afford to drop off against Melbourne at AAMI Park next Saturday otherwise a cricket score could be racked up.
CHARLIE GUBB IS A MACHINE
Twenty-five year old Charlie Gubb came to fame last week when he was ridiculously placed on report for tackling around the knees of Storm fullback Cameron Munster. Thankfully he didn’t face any charges from the Match Review Committee.
Gubb has a cult following at Mount Smart Stadium and his impact both in attack and defence started to change the momentum of the game.
Fifty-eight metres and fourteen tackles in forty-four minutes might not sound like exceptional stats but it’s about the impact of Gubb, charging his way onto the ball and being up in your face in defence which was impressive.
IN THE SHEDS
For the winners Solomone Kata had a bruising afternoon. Kata hobbled off the field late in the game with a leg injury.
Sam Lisone had a shoulder problem after an awkward tackle made that included Danny Levi. Levi placed on report for working the arm. There wasn’t much in it, so it’s unlikely he has a case to answer.
Not so lucky will be Nathan Ross who was also placed on report after working Konrad Hurrell’s arm eleven minutes into the second half.
For the Knights Levi injured his shoulder during the second half. Jake Mamo had his ankle strapped and Jarrod Mullen copped a heavy hit from Ben Matulino after passing the ball. All players continued on in the game.
New Zealand Warriors 40
Tries: Solomone Kata, Ben Matulino, Blake Ayshford, Tuimoala Lolohea, Manu Vatuvei, Shaun Johnson, Isaac Luke
Goals: Shaun Johnson 6
Newcastle Knights 12
Try: Sam Mataora, Dane Gagai
Goal: Trent Hodkinson 2