Warriors prove worth away from home - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors prove worth away from home

Greg Danvers 15/05/2011 06:37:42 PM Comments (0)

The Warriors' renewed ability to win away from Auckland has the NRL club shaping as a force in this year's premiership, the Kiwi side continuing their good form this side of the Tasman with a 25-16 win over Newcastle.

Winning matches in Australia has often proved the Achilles heel of the club but a third straight victory away from New Zealand on Sunday - something the Warriors haven't achieved since 2003 - suggests the side is managing its travel better.

Determined tackling - at one point midway through the second half the Warriors defended their line for 22 consecutive plays - and some smart team management by coach Ivan Cleary were the hallmarks of the Ausgrid Stadium win, the side coming from 16-12 down with seven minutes remaining to snatch the game.

The Warriors had a sluggish start to the season, but have struck back with six wins from their past seven matches.

In recent weeks the notoriously inconsistent Kiwi side have toppled Melbourne at their AAMI Park graveyard, the Gold Coast on the sunshine strip and now the Knights in Newcastle.

Cleary had the Warriors set up camp in Australia since arriving early for last week's win over the Titans, and the more settled approach, courtesy of reduced travel, appeared to pay off on a glorious Sunday afternoon in Newcastle.

"It was a pretty tough schedule so we decided to stay and just take a couple of flights out," Cleary said.

"Having said that it was still a pretty big week for us - four guys backing up for two games last weekend as well (the New Zealand Test and Titans match). To get out of that with a win is very satisfying."

Cleary was ecstatic with the way his side fought back from their poor start thanks to the energy they created without the ball.

"The best part, apart from the win, was that we didn't concede a point in the second half," he said, after his side had trailed 16-12 at the break.

"Whilst we didn't play great we did enough to hang in there and win."

An exciting final seven minutes saw the Warriors cross twice through five-eighth James Maloney and fullback Lance Hohaia (his second for the day), before star of the show Maloney calmly potted a field goal.

After leading for the majority of the match, 18,158 fans trudged out of the stadium in despair.

The game was there for the Knights to win and they'll lament their inability to breach the visitors' line despite numerous chances in the final 40 minutes.

"With 15 minutes to go the game was in the balance," a dejected Knights coach Rick Stone said.

"I think a few concentration lapses, that mental toughness, we let ourselves done in that respect.

"There wasn't much difference in who had the most football on the day, it was pretty even, we let ourselves down in that last little bit."

Stone would not be drawn on the future of injured hooker Isaac De Gois, who had agreed to a new deal earlier in the year that has since been put on the back burner.

De Gois has now been linked with a return to former club, Cronulla next season.

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