Newcastle closed out the Vodafone Junior Warriors 26-12 in today’s fourth-round NYC clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
There was little in it at halftime when the Knights led just 12-8 but they did enough in the second spell to bag their second win of the season and leave the home side with a 1-3 record.
Three dummy half tries opened proceedings, Newcastle the first to strike when hooker Joe Morris pounced seven minutes in after the Knights had enjoyed a lot of early possession.
Absorbing defensive pressure, the Vodafone Junior Warriors turned the tide, pushing through their right to provide an opening for hooker Chris Sio to scoot from dummy half to tie it up 6-6 with Zion Ioka’s conversion.
Having levelled it up the Vodafone Junior Warriors' goal-line defence around the ruck again faltered three minutes later allowing the nippy Morris to steal through from close range for his second.
The rest of the half became an arm wrestle with the Vodafone Junior Warriors edging within four points through an Ioka penalty right on halftime.
The home side didn’t want for opportunities in the second term but a high error count did little to help them while the Knights made just three errors. It was the platform that enabled them to arrange a third try in the 47th minute which, with a Brock Lamb conversion and penalty, took them eight points clear.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors gave themselves a sniff when nice hands to the left and a great pick-up by wing Lewis Soosemea brought them back to 12-20 with 18 minutes still to play but they couldn’t organise another hit-back.
Instead the Knights effectively put the result out of reach with Henry Penn’s 68th-minute try.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 12 (Chris Sio, Lewis Soosemea tries; Zion Ioka conversion, penalty).
Newcastle Knights 26 (Joe Morris 2, Dean Kouka-Smith, Henry Penn tries; Brock Lamb 4 conversions, penalty).
Halftime: 12-8 Knights.
Referee: Jon Stone.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kane Telea; Lewis Soosemea, Junior Pauga, Melino Fineranganofo, Levi McBirney; Sheldon Pitama (c), Zion Ioka; Bunty Afoa, Chris Sio, Isaiah Papalii; Ofahiki Ogden, Joseph Price; Jerome Mamea. Interchange: Tualima Tualima, Koli Oneone, Keanu Dawson, Henry Pei.