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The NSW Cup Knights recorded a 26-12 win over the Warriors at St John Oval on a wet Saturday afternoon.

It was a hard-fought win that left the Knights sitting in third place in the competition.

Fullback Nathan Ross missed the game through a virus, replaced by Honeti Tuha who was the standout player in the match with an 80 metre try and several big defensive plays.

The Knights pushed hard from the get-go, a Timana Tahu feed to winger Brayden Williame giving the hosts vital metres up the left edge.

Both teams were fired up in the early stages, and this led to a series of penalties.

This dominance in possession culminated in a Michael Dobson kick in the 7th minute that very nearly became a try, only for the ball to sail scant centimetres over the fingers of winger Josh Mantellato.

On the very next set the Warriors broke through the Knights' defence and looked certain for a try, but Tuha kept his cool and made the crucial tackle.

The Knights gave away a penalty through an offside ruling in the next tackle, and found themselves pinned back on their own try line with a Warriors side that was building steam.

The Knights weathered the storm though, and with nineteen minutes gone Michael Dobson showed a piece of individual brilliance with a chip and chase.

He looked sure to score, but was pulled back without the ball, earning the Knights a penalty on the 10 metre line.

The Warriors couldn't stop Dobson this time, as he fed the ball on to a charging Clint Newton to score. Mantellato converted, making it 6-0 with eighteen minutes to go in the first half.

The Warriors didn't let their heads drop, and made another line-break five minutes later.

Tuha was in the right place at the right time again, making a strong tackle with the help of Williame to keep the Warriors scoreless.  

Soon after Tuha went one better, bursting through the Warriors defence to score an 80 metre try. Mantellato added the extras to make it 12-0 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.

The Knights maintained the pressure they had built and Tahu was unlucky to not score through a Dobson grubber in the 35th minute, the ball knocked out of his grasp by a defender at the last second.

The Knights kept pushing, and were rewarded minutes later with a penalty as the tiring Warriors were too slow out of the tackle.

The Knights chose a kick, and Dobson duly converted to make it 14-0, a scoreline the Knights took into the sheds at halftime.

The rain started falling in the second half but this didn't dampen the spirits of the Knights as they continued where they had left off.

Brenton Horwood battered his way through the middle, gaining 30 metres in one run to provide the platform for Newton's second try of the afternoon.

Dobson stepped up to slot the conversion, making the score 20-0 with seven minutes played in the second half.

Minutes later Tuha made another scintillating run, flicking the ball on to Mantellato, who then fed James Elias.

The centre showed a clean pair of heels to the Warriors defence, dashing 30 metres to score.

Dobson again made no mistakes, making the score 26-0 with thirty minutes to play.  

Five minutes later the Warriors fought back with a try of their own, centre Dominique Peroix scoring on the right edge.

They were unable to convert from a tight angle, making the score 26-4.

Errors started creeping into the Knights' game, and on the back of three penalties the Warriors scored their second, Ken Maumalo cutting through on the right side.

The Warriors again failed to convert, leaving the score at 26-8 with fifteen minutes to go.

The Knights were looking shaky in defence and the Warriors seized the opportunity, crossing over again through winger Jarrod Tua.

The Warriors missed their third conversion, the score 26-12 with ten minutes left.

Big Abraham Papalii of the Warriors thundered right through the middle in the following set, brushing past several defenders as he rushed towards the posts.

The Knights defence rallied this time, and captain Matt Hilder made a strong tackle on Papalii from behind.

With this play from their captain the Knights seemed to regain their composure, and were able to prevent their opponents from scoring again in the remaining minutes.

The game finished 26-12, the Knights outstanding in the first half, the Warriors resurgent in the second.


Newcastle Knights 26 (T: Newton 2, Tuha, Elias, G: Mantellato 2/2, Dobson: 2/2, P: Mantellato 1)
New Zealand Warriors 12