A sizzling 42-point first half scoring blitz catapulted the Vodafone Warriors to a 52-24 victory in their season-opening Intrust Super Premiership clash against Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium today.
With captain and halfback Mason Lino pulling all the strings, the home side was in total control in the first 40 minutes only to splutter in the second half as the Knights hit back with four tries and 18 points in all.
Fullback Matt Allwood had opened the scoring in the third minute, surging across on the left side before a slick Lino ball put second rower King Vuniyayawa over on the other side.
The lead became 18-0 with Allwood’s second try when he chased down a Lino grubber before Newcastle scored its only first half try through fullback Nick Meany.
From the restart, the Knights allowed the ball to bounce and left wing Manu Vatuvei, chasing hard, was able to collect and go over to extend the margin to 24-4 after just 18 minutes.
Three more tries followed before the halftime siren with Lino heavily involved in most of the action. Standoff Sam Cook had the first of his two tries, right wing Junior Pauga went over in the corner and big interchange forward Chris Satae powered over from close range. Lino, kicking with metronomic precision, converted every try in the half to set the Vodafone Warriors up for what seemed likely to be a huge winning margin.
However, there was a drop-off in intensity allowing the Knights to make some inroads.
There were just two more tries for the home side – a sweet Lino cut-out pass giving Pauga his second – to take the home side’s score past 50 for the day while the Knights battled bravely to stem the flow of points.
Details | Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Warriors 52 (Matt Allwood 2, Junior Pauga 2, Sam Cook 2, Manu Vatuvei, King Vuniyayawa, Chris Satae tries; Mason Lino 7 conversions).
Newcastle 24 (Cory Denniss 2, Braden Robson, Tom Hughes, Nick Meany tries; Nick Meany 2 conversions).
Halftime: 42-4 Vodafone Warriors.
Vodafone Warriors | Matt Allwood; Junior Pauga, Blake Ayshford, Semisi Fotu, Manu Vatuvei; Sam Cook, Mason Lino (c); James Gavet, Tevin Arona, Toafofoa Sipley; Ofa Ogden, King Vuniyayawa; Daniel Palavi. Interchange: Reece Charlie, Chris Satae, Pat Sipley, Paulos Latu.