Wooden spooners or in with a chance?
The Knights may not have come out as victors against the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium but they certainly proved they were not a team to be taken lightly. Dominating the game for the first 20 minutes while also securing 8 points with a try from Peter Mata’utia and two conversions, the Knights well and truly had the Warriors on their toes and fans feeling as though their losing streak in round one was going to continue on for another year.
Although the Warriors eventually picked up their game and scored try after try thanks to Fusitua, the Knights were never far behind and made it a hard battle to the very end.
Same old Warriors
They struggled in the beginning and made multiple mistakes. We saw the Warriors drop balls, miss tackles and allow the Knights to break the line multiple times which is not unfamiliar territory from their performances last season. When they finally started playing to their potential, towards the end of the first half and gained a lead on the scoreboard, they became complacent and allowed the Knights to secure more points and take the lead.
Although the team weren’t playing to anyone’s expectations, they did lose Simon Mannering and Issac Luke to injuries and continued to hold on and take the win which showed improvement from last season.
Tuivasa-Sheck right pick for captain
Many questioned and doubted Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the Warriors captain for the 2017 NRL season but he managed to prove people wrong with his out-standing performance as captain for round 1. He made 20 runs, 1 line break and made 243 metres as well as keeping his team together and leading by example.
The Warriors may have won the game but did they dominate? It was an ugly game of football where both sides were making mistakes and giving the ball away set after set. The game saw both teams taking charge but each time it was shortly lived and neither team was convincing which made for a messy game to watch.
New Zealand Warriors 26
Tries: David Fusitua (3), Solomone Kata, Ryan Hoffman
Goals: Shaun Johnson (2), Issac Luke
Newcastle Knights 22
Tries: Peter Mata’utia, Jack Stockwell, Nathan Ross (2)
Goals: Trent Hodkinson (2)