Brad Inger reviews the Indigenous Round clash between the Warriors and the Knights at Moreton Daily Stadium; here’s how the match went.
New Zealand Warriors 16
Tries: Adam Pompey 4, Viliami Vailea 8, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 50
Goals: Reece Walsh 6, 19
Sin Bin: Marcelo Montoya 58
Newcastle Knights 24
Tries: Tyson Frizell 23, Edrick Lee 28, Enari Tuala 53, 68
Goals: Jack Clifford 24, 29, 53, 70
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
After a turbulent week, the Warriors showed positive signs early, taking advantage of an Anthony Milford forward pass with strong runs up the middle before scoring back to back tries via centres Adam Pompey and Viliami Vailea. There was a comical moment after Vailea’s try when Reece Walsh slipped when attempting the conversion.
The Knights showed a lack of cohesion after getting good field position when Shaun Johnson kicked the ball out on the full. They looked to second-guess themselves and despite earning a repeat set, they threw away their chance when a wayward Kalyn Ponga pass went to the ground before going over the sideline.
The Warriors continued to look more threatening with the ball in hand, asking plenty of questions of the Knight’s defence and were close to scoring again when Johnson scooped up a Chanel Harris-Tavita grubber but lost possession in the action of grounding. The Warriors earnt a penalty after the referee ruled that Johnson was hit high by Daniel Saifiti; Walsh kicked the penalty, pushing the New Zealand side’s lead to 12. To make the visitor’s day worse, Saifiti injured his knee and would be ruled out for the rest of the contest.
With momentum heavily in the home side’s favour, it appeared that the Knights were staring down the barrel of another devastating loss. However, multiple errors from the Warriors, including another kick over the sidelines and a kickoff that sailed over the dead-ball line, were jumped on by Newcastle, scoring tries in quick succession via Tyson Frizell and Edrick Lee.
The Warriors tried to get back into the contest with Walsh hitting the line at pace, but he was put to the ground with a monster tackle from Milford. Walsh shook it off, continuing to threaten with the ball in hand, and got close to the try line before attempting a flick pass.
Newcastle attempted to end the half on a high with a field goal from Jake Clifford, but he shanked it to the left, ending the half with the scores levelled and plenty to work on in the second half from both sides.
HALF-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 12 Newcastle Knights 12Embed from Getty Images
Warriors started the half strongly again, making dents in Newcastle’s defensive line, but an error from Johnson saw the home side let another opportunity slip. If Nathan Brown had any hair, he would have started pulling it out.
A high shot by Milford gave the Warriors another chance, and after a few probing runs, Johnson kicked early and earnt his side a repeat set. A few plays later, he kicked a pinpoint ball to the corner for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score in the corner.
The Knights bounced back immediately when Chanel Harris-Tavita dropped the kickoff, scoring a try directly off the scrum after Ponga did a nice wrap around play before throwing a short-ball to Enari Tuala handing Newcastle the lead for the first time in the contest.
Marcelo Montoya was sent to the bin in the 58th minute after hitting Dominic Young high, despite being similar to the Saifiti tackle from the first half. The Knights had good field position but made a poor pass from the ruck, which was kicked on by Jack Murchie, letting the Warriors off the hook. The New Zealand side kicked early again, earning another repeat set but could not convert it into points with Harris-Tavita kicking to Pompey in the corner, but the centre tapped the ball over the sideline.
There was some friendly fire in the final 15 minutes with Warriors forwards, Jazz Tevaga, and Murchie clashing heads in a tackle; seeing both go off for an HIA, they would not return to the match.
It looked like the visitors were not going to score any points while having a one-man advantage, but the pressure they were heaping on the Warriors finally got rewarded when Milford pushed a kick through for Tuala’s second try of the day.
Some poor discipline from the Knights saw the Warriors assisted in their length of the field march; however, despite earning two repeat sets, they were their own worse enemy, derailing the drive with a forward pass from Harris-Tavita to Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Time was running out, but the Warriors earned another penalty from a scrum but looked completely lost with the ball in hand; they were held up over the line on the fourth tackle before kicking the ball out on the full on the last to end the match, handing them their first loss in Redcliffe.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 24 New Zealand Warriors 16
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Tyson Frizell (Knights), 2 pts – Enari Tuala (Knights), 1 pt – Euan Aitken (Warriors)
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