New Zealand Warriors made it back-to-back wins with a comfortable win over Newcastle Knights, who are languishing at the bottom of the NRL ladder.
Climbing the ladder
After an impressive win over Brisbane Broncos last week, New Zealand Warriors backed it up with a dominant display against the NRL’s basement club. Consistency is the key for the Warriors if they are to extend their season beyond the regular rounds, and they will have a great chance to make it three wins on the spin when they face the struggling Sydney Roosters next week.
They took advantage of South Sydney Rabbitohs’ loss last night and have climbed up to ninth in the ladder, putting pressure on the teams around them to keep up the pace. Only two points separate them from Parramatta Eels in fifth, and if they are to string together a run of wins the top eight is well within their grasp.
Four for Fusitu’a
After scoring twice and producing a miracle finish last week you could forgive David Fusitu’a for having a quiet weekend. Instead, the New Zealand Warriors wide man ran in four tries, three of which came in the second half, to lead his side to a convincing victory.
His first was a simple score, as the ball was shifted to his wing as they outnumbered the defence on the right edge and Fusitu’a strolled in for the Warriors second try of the game. The first points of the second half came from Fusitu’a in typical fashion as he produced another spectacular diving finish before backing it up with an identical score almost immediately after. Number four saw him gallop down the wing and beat everyone for pace to round of a brilliant individual display.
Second half shut out
Trailing 22-14 at half-time Newcastle Knights were in with a chance of ending their horror run of late, however a second half collapse saw them ship 28 points without troubling the scoreboard themselves. It was a poor second period for the Knights as they were embarrassed in front of their home support once again, and they offered little resistance as their opponents’ right edge ran riot.
Brendan Elliot joined midweek from Sydney Roosters and marked his debut with a try close to the half hour mark, eight minutes after Sione Mata’utia had opened the hosts’ account. A Trent Hodkinson penalty goal on the stroke of half-time cut the deficit to eight, however it would be the last points of the afternoon for his side.
Wooden spoon beckons
It is now eight straight defeats for Newcastle Knights, and any hopes they had of competing in the top eight were buried long ago. They now have to play simply for pride, and to target the Sydney Roosters who are five points ahead of them in 15th spot. It is hard to see them moving from the foot of the ladder though, and they look nailed on to take the wooden spoon for the second year in a row.
With their skipper Tariq Sims jumping ship and joining St George Illawarra Dragons, things are looking bleak for Newcastle and they will be looking to give their fans something to cheer about between now and the inevitable end of their season.
Newcastle Knights 14
Tries: Mata’utia (19), Elliot (27)
Goals: Hodkinson 3/3
New Zealand Warriors 50
Tries: Vete (5, 76), Fusitu’a (10, 49, 53, 59), Vatuvei (23), Thompson (35), Kata (68)
Goals: Johnson 5/6, Luke 2/3
IN THE SHEDS
The Warriors lost Manu Vatuvei to a hamstring injury, putting a dampener on their impressive victory, and will be hoping it isn’t too serious for the wide man.