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Konrad Hurrell prepares with Ben Henry.Knights v Warriors NRL rugby league match at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle Australia. Saturday 7 March 2015. Photo: Paul Seiser/

Here we go for 2015, the Vodafone Warriors starting their 20th anniversary season against the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium.

Both sides have lost their fullbacks, Sam Tomkins out with a hamstring injury for the Vodafone Warriors and Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley out with a hamstring as well. Also out is would-be Vodafone Warriors debutant Ken Maumalo who was ruled out with a hamstring injury picked up in yesterday's final training session.


1'00" | Solid opening set possession from the Vodafone Warriors. 

5'00" | Akuila Uate busts the Vodafone Warriors up the middle, dragged down by Shaun Johnson.

7'00" | The Knights bomb a try but earn a penalty on the Vodafone Warriors' line. Uate threatens on the right again but when checked gets a ball away for Dane Gagai to score wide out. Tyler Randell converts moments after coming onto the field for Tyrone Roberts who had been helped off the field with injury.

Newcastle 6, Vodafone Warriors 0 

12'00" | Albert Vete on the field for his debut.

13'00" | Attacking penalty set for Vodafone Warriors but not completed after forward pass.

15'00" | Concerns about a knee complaint for Konrad Hurrell. 

16.00" | Hurrell off the field with knee injury. Simon Mannering goes into the centres.

19'00" | Sam Lisone on the field. Two young props out there together.

22'00 | Bomb left, Vatuvei up, ball goes loose, scramble between Henry and Uate for the ball. Ashley Klein sends it upstairs as a 'no try'. Eventually ruled Henry knocked on for a tap on the 20 for the Knights.

25'00" | Great 40-20 from Chad Townsend. Attacking set.

26'00" | TRY! From the repeat set the Vodafone Warriors go towards the posts, Thomas Leuluai steams onto a superb short ball from Suaia Matagi to score near the right upright. Referred upstairs for try decision and also for Tyrone Roberts diving in with a knee on Leuluai's head. Leuluai was taken off after going across. Video referee confirmed try and also ruled Roberts had made contact with Leuluai's head with his knee. Eight point try. Johnson converted and then knocked over the resulting penalty from in front.

Newcastle 6, Vodafone Warriors 8

30'00" | Tuimoala Lolohea fields a last tackle kick close to his line, steps through a jagged chasing line and scorches 60 metres upfield. Shadowed by the cover, he aims a pass infield only for it to be blocked bu Uate and taken into touch. Lolohea heavily involved throughout so far. Lots of touches and making lots of ground.

37'00" | Fantastic period of play. Knights threatened through Leilua but Mannering took him into touch brilliantly. Soon after Newcastle went to Leilua again giving hima shot at the corner. Again the Vodafone Warriors were up to it, stopping the big centre short.

38'00" | TRY. Vatuvei carves upfield on a kick return, making a breath-taking 45-metre break only to be stopped by Uate chasing back. Moments later, Townsend steps through the line and looks likely. He plays it quickly, Nathan Friend serves it up on the left and Ryan Hoffman powers over for a try in his club debut. Johnson converts and the teams go to halftime.

Newcastle 6, Vodafone Warriors 14

Losing Hurrell was a huge setback but the Vodafone Warriors handled it with second rowers Mannering and Henry now in the centres after the plan had been to run with Hurrell and Kata. Vete has played a lot of minutes after coming on so early in the match and Lolohea has been outstanding in every department.

Halftime stats shown the Vodafone Warriors have missed only nine tackles so far, Newcastle 27. Lolohea has made 163 metres from 12 runs and Vatuvei 97 from five. Vete has carried the ball 14 times for 89 metres.

Halftime |

Newcastle 6 (Dane Gagai try; Tyler Randell conversion).

Vodafone Warriors 14 (Thomas Leuluai, Ryan Hoffman tries; Shaun Johnson 2 conversions, penalty).


43'00" | Attacking repeat sets for Vodafone Warriors after forcing two goal-line drop outs but play breaks down on the second with an error 20 out.

45'00" | Another penalty awarded to the Vodafone Warriors makes the count 6-2 in their favour (a rare sight) but failed to find touch allowing Newcastle to storm onto attack.

49'00" | Vodafone Warriors on attack, Bodene Thompson on break and tipped up in dangerous tackle by Sione Mata'utia. Shot at goal turned down, Vodafone Warriors go close through Thompson. Another penalty. David Fa'alogo sent to bin for professional foul but the Vodafone Warriors concede the advantage with an error early in the tackle count.

52'00" | Another error early in the count handing the Knights an attacking set and then a repeat set after earning a penalty. Hurrell has been back on the field seemingly unaffected by the knee injury which forced him off early in the game.

54'00" | Newcastle still down to 12 men with Fa'alogo off but enjoying most of the ball in this period.

56'00" | The Vodafone Warriors defending again after conceding another penalty.

58'00" | On the repeat set the Knights attack through their right edge. Dane Gagai gets one on one, breaks free and drives over wide out. Tyrone Roberts converts from wide out to get within two points even with only 12 men on the field.

Newcastle 12, Vodafone Warriors 14

60'00" | Swirling bomb spilled by Lolohea under pressure but Newcastle penalised for being offside. 

61'00" | From resulting set the Vodafone Warriors have six again but fail to hear the call, turn possession over with a kick on the first tackle.

65'00" | Danger signs. Newcastle getting a flow of penalties and from repeat set Randell gets over from dummy half to take the home side into the lead. Roberts converts.

Newcastle 18, Vodafone Warriors 14

70'00" | Penalty count has closed up to 10-7 in the Vodafone Warriors' favour now.

71'00" | Newcastle error, Vodafone Warriors have a set inside the Knights' half.

74'00" | Gagai intercept near his line, eventually stopped by Lolohea but a few plays later Robbie Rochow scores collecting Leilua offload. Roberts converts.

Newcastle 24, Vodafone Warriors 14 

All the momentum with the Knights over the last 25 minutes as they pick up three tries to convert an eight-point deficit into a 10-point victory.

The Vodafone Warriors have another difficult road trip to Canberra next Sunday. 


Newcastle 24 (Dane Gagai 2, Tyler Randell, Robbie Rochow tries; Tyrone Roberts 3 conversions; Tyler Randell conversion).

Vodafone Warriors 14 (Thomas Leuluai, Ryan Hoffman tries; Shaun Johnson 2 conversions, penalty).

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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