In front of 11,518 vocal fans, the home side managed to turn things around against the Knights after last week succumbing 52-6 to Manly. The Warriors never trailed after scoring the opening try through debutant Ryan Shortland, the Melbourne import scoring a double propelling the Warriors to a 14-0 lead early.
The Knights looked beaten well and truly early, New Zealand dominating possession before Newcastle fought back in the final ten minutes of the first half, scoring two tries before halftime to bring the deficit back in to just two points.
The Warriors pushed on and dominated possession again in the second half, Evarn Tuimavave bullocking over to take the Warriors back to an 8-point lead. The Knights did manage to come within four again with a try to James McManus but it would be as close as they'd come - Patrick Ah Van turning the match on it's head when he collected a Knights kick deep in his own half and streaked away to score the eventual matchwinner.
Kurt Gidley put his team in the mix again with three minutes remaining but it was all too little to late in the final moments as the Warriors capped a great turnaround - although their home (2 from 2) and away (0 from 2) record is a concern. They will be home next week to host the Bulldogs, while Newcastle also head home to play the Broncos at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
New Zealand Warriors 26 Tries: Ryan Shortland (2), Evarn Tuimavave, Patrick Ah Van Goals: Michael Witt (5/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Sam Rapira (New Zealand Warriors) 2 Points: Scott Dureau (Newcastle Knights) 1 Point: Ruben Wiki (New Zealand Warriors)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Mt Smart Stadium the venue for today's showdown, the Warriors coming off a big loss and the Knights off a golden point nailbiter last week - who's recovered better will be found out in the next 80. No changes reported from either side... kickoff just seconds away.
0 min: We're underway at Mt Smart Stadium!
3 min: Newcastle with the first piece of enterprising play with Taia put through a small gap. They look to be set for the tryline but a loose pass sees possession back in Warrior hands.
6 min: Line drop out forced by the Warriors who are looking keen in attack. An absolute mess in goal but no Warrior can ground it, instead pressuring the Knights to knock it dead.
9 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors Plenty of possession going the home side's way early - they've earned a penalty goal from it and take the early lead. New Zealand Warriors 2-0
12 min: VIDEO REFEREE Possible Warriors try to Ryan Shortland... Decision Pending --- It's awarded - TRY!
13 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Ryan Shortland scores on debut out wide for the Warriors and they take a further ascendency here at their home ground. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 8-0
16 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors A double on debut for this youngster who's made the journey from the Melbourne Storm to the land of the long white cloud - and it's paying dividends for him. Warriors already cruising ahead within the first twenty minutes. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 14-0
22 min: Newcastle bomb their first attacking chance since the first few minutes with a knock on close to the line. From the subsequent play for the Warriors, Newcastle's Chris Houston gives away a penalty and the Warriors are likely to go on the attack again.
29 min: The Warriors and Knights playing a bit of end-to-end football now and it's the Knights currently on the attack as they look to strike back prior to halftime.
33 min: VIDEO REFEREE Possible Knights try... Decision Pending -- TRY!
34 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Naiqama dives on the scraps from another in-goal pinball machine effort, this time in the Knights favour and puts them within eight. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. New Zealand Warriors 14-6
39 min: TRY Newcastle Knights A great strong try for the Knights through Cory Paterson, weak line defence by the home side in the end and the gap suddenly goes from 14 points to 2 points just before the break. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. New Zealand Warriors 14-12
HALFTIME: New Zealand Warriors 14 Newcastle Knights 12 The Warriors dominating possession and ball control in the first 30 but the momentum certainly shifted in the final 10 of this first half and all of a sudden it's a ball game. Two points the difference at the break.
Statistics Possession: Warriors 51% Knights 49% Tackles: Warriors 107 Knights 146 Missed Tackles: Warriors 14 Knights 10 Metres Gained: Warriors 545 Knights 426 Penalties: Warriors 7 Knights 6 Scrums: Warriors 5 Knights 3
41 min: Second Half underway here at Mt Smart Stadium.
41 min: The Warriors have given away a play-the-ball penalty and Newcastle are suddenly in good field position in the first minute of play... INTERCEPT by Rovelli for the Warriors and then he's dragged down. Newcastle compound the lost possession with a penalty, the 14th of the day from relative newcomer Tony De Las Heras.
44 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors The Warriors take play to the other end of the park and Evarn Tuimavave has successfully penetrated the Warriors line. The Warriors go eight clear again. Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 20-12
51 min: The Warriors knocking on the door of the tryline but the Knights simply refusing to grant them entry again, they've defended well again and it's time for them to work the ball back into an attacking position to close the eight point gap now.
61 min: VIDEO REFEREE Possible Warriors try... Decision Pending -- TRY!
62 min: TRY Newcastle Knights The Knights score out wide through James McManus and close that gap again, although the kick from Gidley is waved away. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 20-16
66 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors A brilliant try for Patrick Ah Van - running the length of the field off a deft Newcastle kick just as the visitors were looking dangerous. Less than 15 to go now and the home side has a safe lead - can they hold it? Conversion attempt by Michael Witt successful. New Zealand Warriors 26-16
72 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors Michael Witt has a shot at penalty goal to surely seal the game... but can't convert the opportunity. No change to the score. New Zealand Warriors 26-16
76 min: TRY Newcastle Knights A late charge for Newcastle and the Mt Smart faithful fall silent as Gidley scores. He's missed the shot at goal though - a converted try necessary in the final three minutes. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 26-20
79 min: The Warriors knock the ball down on the Knights fifth tackle so the Newcastle boys will get a shot at the line with 60 seconds remaining...
80 min: Logan Swann takes an intercept on his own line and runs 20 metres and the Warriors are out of gaol. Time will run down with a few tackles taken and that's the ball game.
FULLTIME: New Zealand Warriors 26 Newcastle Knights 20 The Warriors have held on here in a back-and-forward game, and although they never trailed the Knights did look dangerous. A good way for the home side to turn around their massive loss to Manly last week.Like