The NYC nib Newcastle Knights started their 2017 season in the best possible way, thrashing the New Zealand Warriors 48-10 at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday morning.
New halves pairing Hayden Loughrey and Jack Johns were outstanding, while fullback Matt Cooper also starred with a brace of tries.
From the get-go the Knights pushed strong for points.
A few fumbles early didn’t dampen their spirit, a run from Brayden Musgrove almost netting first points as Warriors centre Melino Fineanganofo was sent to the sin bin for foul play.
It didn’t take the Knights long to score after that, Cooper slamming down the ball just after the ten-minute mark.
It wasn’t long before the Knights struck again, Dean Kouka-Smith scoring off a 40 metre run down the right edge.
Trailing by 10 points, the Warriors made their move five minutes later.
Prop Kenese Kenese snuck across the line for their first points, Kane Telea with the conversion to trail to the Knights 10-6.
Another try came for the Knights in the 25th minute, Tom Starling weaving through the defence to make it a ten-point lead with a successful conversion.
Then 33 minutes in, Brayden Musgrove saw a hole in the Warrior’s defence to make a run down the left side before offloading, the ball ending up in the hands of Loughrey for a 75 metre try.
In the second half the Warriors quickly made it to the scoring end but a bad pass saw the Knights capitalise before Johns made a dash to the line and crossed for four points.
Shortly afterwards the Warriors replied, Dylan Tavita crashing through the Knights pack to score for their second of the match, but a failed conversion saw them continue to trail 28-10.
In the 67th minute Musgrove did well to offload to Loughrey, who threw several feints to record a 30 metre try.
Minutes later Musgrove scored down the left edge, and then a run down the right side by Kouka-Smith opened up the field before he passed infield to Cooper who added another four-pointer.
For the final try of the match Loughrey set one up close to the line, as he passed late to Pasami Saulo to dive over under the posts.
Gudgeon converted to make the final score 48-10.
Newcastle Knights 48 (T: Loughrey 2, Cooper 2, Kouka-Smith, Starling, Johns, Musgrove, Saulo, G: Gudgeon 6/9)
New Zealand Warriors 10 (T: Kenese, Poara, G: Telea 1/2)