Warriors all but end Knights season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors all but end Knights season

15/08/2010 04:44:53 PM Comments (0)

Hulking Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei has effectively put to bed Newcastle's 2010 season with a powerhouse three-try performance in his side's 22-10 win over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium.

In a much vaunted showdown against prolific Knights opposite Akuila Uate, Vatuvei was the knockout winner, scoring a treble but also running down the Newcastle flyer to save a try as the match remained evenly poised.

"I haven't seen him run that quick in a while," Warriors coach Ivan Cleary offered of Vatuvei's effort in hunting down Uate.

"He's pretty competitive, Manu. When he (Uate) got away like that, he was pretty determined to run him down."

"He's just a great all-round athlete."

Vatuvei also soared above Uate to claim one of his tries in a performance even Knights coach Rick Stone couldn't help but admire.

"It's fair to say he (Vatuvei) got the points today (over Uate)," Stone conceded.

"He's big, he's got size and plenty of pace and strength to get home in sneaky situations."

The Warriors made nine first-half errors, but still managed to hold a 10-4 advantage at the break.

Vatuvei and Cooper Vuna traded first-half tries before the Warriors finisher got his brace three minutes from the break when he collected a perfectly placed kick from Brett Seymour.

Maloney extended the lead to 10-6 with the conversion.

The second spell burst into life when Uate beat four defenders up the middle of the ruck.

The Knights talisman stepped Hohaia and looked certain to score but Vatuvei had other ideas, not only chopping down his opposite down but dislodging the ball.

Then when former Melbourne forward Dan Tolar scored under the sticks in the 48th minute for the Knights it was game on at 10-all.

But instead of wilting the Warriors lifted, Seymour showing his class when he pulled off a third tackle 40-20 kick that led to Vatuvei's hat-trick - and 17th try from 15 matches this year.

While the Knights questioned a forward pass call that denied replacement Wes Naiqama a possible equaliser with six minutes to play, the Warriors regrouped and sealed the result soon after when Tupou touched down after enjoying a favourable bounce from an Ian Henderson grubber.

The win sees the Warriors stay in the hunt for the top four but Stone admitted his side's charge was effectively over for 2011 given they were now four points behind eighth spot with three games remaining.

"Yeah, it probably does (mean our season is over)," Stone said.

"Obviously we're relying on other results. We weren't thinking about the playoffs too much for this particular game. We showed plenty of fight to the end."

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