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Tough Knights edged in season opener

The nib Newcastle Knights have gone down 20-12 in a brutal and close season opener at Sky Stadium, Wellington.

With four new players inducted into the Knights honour roll to start the season, the Knights were beaten four tries to two by the home side.

In a see-sawing contest, the Knights showcased plenty of resilience and fight, but couldn't get the two points from the first competition game.


In the season opener in windy conditions in Wellington, the Knights began with intent and posted early points courtesy of Lachlan Fitzgibbon.

A knock on from the Warriors brought quality field position for the red and blue, and Kalyn Ponga jumped into action.

A beautiful short ball from the new five-eighth provided Fitzgibbon with space, and the forward was too strong close to the line.

Hastings added the extras as the Knights took a 6-0 lead after five minutes.

Ponga and Fitzgibbon combine

Soon after, strong goal line defence kept the Warriors at bay after the opening try from Newcastle.

Midway through the first half, Tyson Frizell was taken from the field with a head knock and failed his Head Injury Assessment (HIA), ruling him out of the remainder of the game.

The Warriors would hit back on the 23rd minute mark to bridge the deficit.

Edward Kosi planted the ball in the corner to score the home side's first.

New Zealand took the lead four minutes later with Bunty Afoa scoring under the posts.

Minutes later, Ponga produced a gutsy goal line tackle to deny Marata Niukore from a try.

At the change of ends and after a grinding opening 40, the Warriors would lead 10-6.

The Knights regained ascendancy at the start of the second half working their way down the field and regaining the lead.

Fast hands down the left edge freed up Hymel Hunt and the winger made no mistake in the corner.

Slick Knights come out firing

Hastings nailed the conversion from the sideline to put the Knights ahead by two after 50 minutes.

However, the match again swung back to the Warriors as the home team responded with a try of their own through fullback, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

The Knights were reduced to 12 men when Phoenix Crossland was sent to the sin-bin on the 57th minute mark.

The red and blue showed plenty of resolve and even had the lions share of possession, with Kalyn almost getting over for his first try of the season only to be denied by a Nicoll-Klokstad try-saver.

Ponga was removed from the field shortly after for a HIA assessment.

The Knights through plenty of attack at the Warriors, but it was the home side who would strike the all-important try with Wayde Egan diving over with seven minutes to play.

Our boys will look to post their first win of the season with their next fixture coming up against the Wests Tigers next Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.