The Newcastle Knights held on for a 24-22 victory in an enthralling encounter on Easter Sunday with the Warriors storming home.
In an overcast Newcastle, the Knights tussled and fought a mercurial Warriors side to gain the upper hand in the first half.
Kurt Gidley was heavily involved and it didn't take long for him to take an inside pass from Ben Rogers to send Isaac De Gois over in the 12th minute.
The Warriors weren't too shaken though as Joel Moon broke away downfield only to be wrapped up by Kurt Gidley. Stacey Jones showed outstanding vision as he chipped ahead for Wade McKinnon to cross the whitewash. Denan Kemp kicked the conversion and it was 6-all at the end of the first quarter.
James McManus and Adam MacDougall quickly terrorised the Knights defense though, the pair linked brilliantly to give McManus two tries before halftime despite Micheal Luck's objections to the referee.
The secondhalf began the way many hoped with the Warriors scoring first after Nathan Fien was judged to have grounded the ball after burrowing over.
Jarrod Mullen again used his boot to do the talking and put a thorn in the side of the Warriors. His bomb setting up a try for Keith Lulia but Kurt Gidley was unable to break his kicking rut after missing his 3rd conversion attempt in a row. The Knights led 18-12.
The Knights then showed their enthusiasm for running the ball and burst their way down the pitch. Jarrod Mullen was again on hand to set up another beauty as he unloaded to Chris Houston and Kurt Gidley finally added another conversion to give the Knights a 24-12 lead with less than a quarter of the match remaining.
It took the Warriors a little under 10 minutes to get back on the board though as Russell Packer was able to bash his way over the line, but this time it was Denan Kemp who was unable to add the conversion. The Knights led 24-16 with only 10 minutes left.
The Warriors got several penalties and Kurt Gidley was lucky not to be hitting the showers early after taking out Denan Kemp late. Patrick Ah Van then went over for a try and Denan Kemp kicked the conversion to ensure the crowd enjoyed a tight finish at 24-22.
Stacey Jones featured more prominently after a stint on the bench but the Knights held on after several raids and eventually forced the Warriors back into their own half. The Knights defended stoically and were able to hold on for a deserved 24-22 victory.
Match Details Newcastle Knights 24 def New Zealand Warriors 22 Round 5 - Sunday April 12th, 2009, 2:00pm Venue: Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Gavin Badger & Steve Lyons Sideline Officials: Jeff Younis & Russell Turner Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 13,626 Half time: Knights 14-6
Newcastle Knights 24 Tries: Isaac De Gois, James McManus (2), Keith Lulia, Chris Houston Goals: Kurt Gidley (2/5) New Zealand Warriors 22 Tries: Wade McKinnon, Nathan Fien, Russell Packer, Patrick Ah Van Goals: Denan Kemp (3/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary KNIGHTS: 1. Kurt Gidley (c) 2. James McManus 3. Junior Sau 4. Adam MacDougall 18. Keith Lulia 6. Ben Rogers 7. Scott Dureau 8. Mark Taufua 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Ben Cross 11. Chris Houston 12. Zeb Taia 13. Matt Hilder Interchange: 14. Jarrod Mullen 15. Cory Paterson 16. Richard Fa Like