Doubles from wings Tomas Aoake and Ken Maumalo have helped the Vodafone Warriors to a solid 26-6 victory over the Newcastle Knights in today’s seventh-round Intrust Super Premiership match on Mount Smart Stadium #2.
The win not only lifted the home side to eight points with a 4-3 win-loss record – and fourth on the ladder for now – but also provided a healthy boost to its points for and against differential (now plus 36).
The Vodafone Warriors set the tone from the outset, asserting themselves in the middle of the park through their big starting forward pack of Albert Vete, James Gavet, Shaun Lane, John Palavi and Toafofoa Sipley working off rookie NRL hooker Jazz Tevaga.
They created the base for the first of three first half tries in the 11th minute when recently-recruited ex-Bulldogs back rower Lane put right wing Aoake over wide out. Mason Lino’s radar was on song with the difficult conversion.
The lead was doubled to 12-0 seven minutes later when Aoake, a prolific try-scorer in his NYC career, had his second of the match and his third in the grade, Lino again spot on from the touchline.
Close to halftime the Vodafone Warriors went to the left side for wing Ken Maumalo to cross. No conversion this time but the lead was 16-0 leaving the home side well set to complete a second consecutive convincing win following their 30-12 success against North Sydney last week.
They opened the second half in good shape, standoff Ata Hingano releasing centre Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who linked inside for captain John Palavi to finish off. With Lino’s conversion the lead was out to 22-0 with a big margin in prospect.
The Knights, though, dug in to limit the damage, first checking the Vodafone Warriors’ dominance and then fashioning their only try of the day through interchange forward Michael Steele.
The score remained 22-6 in the Vodafone Warriors’ favour until the final seconds when they engineered Maumalo’s second try – and ninth in six games this year – to complete the scoring.
The Vodafone Warriors clearly benefited from the significant NRL experience they boasted in their starting forward pack as well as being able to inject veteran Ali Lauitiiti and Sione Lousi from the bench.
For several of the Newcastle players it was a homecoming of sorts, although not one to remember on the day. Among its squad were a number of New Zealanders including Sam Cook, Dean Kouka-Smith, Henry Penn, Tyme Dow-Nikau and Tama Koopu.
The Vodafone Warriors have a bye next week.
Match details | Mount Smart Stadium #2, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 26 (Tomas Aoake 2, Ken Maumalo 2, John Palavi tries; Mason Lino 3 conversions).
Newcastle Knights 6 (Michael Steele try; Bryce Donovan conversion).
Halftime: 16-0 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Jamal Thompson.
Vodafone Warriors | Henare Wells; Ken Maumalo, Konrad Hurrell, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Tomas Aoake; Ata Hingano, Mason Lino; James Gavet, Jazz Tevaga, Albert Vete; Shaun Lane, John Palavi (c); Toafofoa Sipley. Interchange: Ali Lauitiiti, Viliami Kaveinga, Sione Lousi, James Bell.