It was Mason Lino’s return to Mt Smart Stadium but the game didn’t play out the way he would’ve liked.
The Newcastle Knights halfback had a hand in almost everything in Sunday’s Canterbury Cup NSW to the Warriors.
But he was unable to inspire his side who fell short 28-12 on Sunday.
It was a slow start for the Knights with the Warriors posting points early through Phillip Makatoa.
The forward scored an easy one under the sticks and Adam Keighran added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
It took the Knights 30 minutes to return serve but they did so in fine fashion with a lovely tap on pass from Lino finding Kiah Cooper who stepped three men to secure the try.
Lino was unable to kick the goal and the visitors trailed by two.
Scramble by the Knights denied Keighran and the Warriors playmaker let frustration get the better of him as he sparked a tussle with Lino.
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A brilliant tackle by Sam Stone on Solomone Kata shutdown what threatened to be a point scoring opportunity for the Warriors but the Knights held their nerve.
The visitors were then rewarded for their patience.
A Lino penalty goal levelled the scores 6-6 as the buzzer sounded for halftime.
Like the first half, the second started with a Warriors try.
Ligi Sao sparked the play, finding Blake Ayshford who offloaded to Setu To who scored in the corner.
Down 10-6, the Knights responded through Lino who produced a perfectly weighted grubber kick for Stone.
The backrower plucked the ball out of the air to score the try and Lino nailed the goal to snatch the lead 12-10 with 20 minutes remaining.
The lead didn’t last long with Ayshford exploding into space to swing momentum back in favour of the Warriors 16-12.
Paul Turner extended the lead when he crossed late in the game and Jackson Frei put the result beyond doubt with five minutes left on the clock.