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After Taine Tuaupiki provided the heroics in the last two games, Geronimo Doyle delivered today as the One New Zealand Warriors came through late to beat the Knights 12-7 in their ninth-round New South Wales Cup contest at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

In a slushy slugfest played in grim conditions, the Warriors were down 6-7 when Tuaupiki lined up a score-levelling field goal attempt with six minutes to play.

Instead the kick was charged down, ricocheting into Doyle’s hands nearby on the 20 metre line. The interchange utility exploded on a zig zagging run, beating five defenders to score a dazzling try to put the Warriors 10-7 ahead.

Tuaupiki converted and the Warriors then closed out the match for yet another dramatic result to extend their unbeaten run to three matches, moving up to seventh on the ladder.

Doyle had also provided the last-second match winner in the team’s first round win over Newtown while Tuaupiki landed a tricky conversion for a 26-24 win over St George Illawarra two weeks ago and then slotted a last-minute penalty for a 22-22 draw with unbeaten Penrith last week.

Today’s contest had seemed destined for a 6-6 draw after the sides had traded converted tries in the first half.

The Warriors were on point early on to take a 6-0 lead after halfback Luke Hanson took on the line to score his second try in as many weeks before Newcastle locked it up 11 minutes from halftime.

With the weather conditions having a marked influence, the match became a slog in the second half with defence winning out as neither side could finish off opportunities.

While Will Pryce put the Knights 7-6 ahead with a field goal in the 73rd minute, the Warriors were anything but perturbed as they dug in and went about giving themselves an opportunity to come out of the match with something, perhaps a draw for the second week running. Instead they produced the unexpected in an extraordinary manner.

Across the board their efforts in statistical categories were impressive, not least in defence where they missed just 20 tackles compared for Newcastle’s 40. Hooker Makaia Tafua topped the tackle count with 44.

They had plenty of willing ball carriers with 10 of them topping 100 metres, centre Moala Graham-Taufa with an exceptional 297 metres.

The Warriors are back home next Sunday when they face the Sydney Roosters at North Harbour Stadium.

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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