Warriors, Knights battle for comfort zone - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors, Knights battle for comfort zone

12/08/2011 07:43:31 PM Comments (0)

There may only be two points on offer at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night, but they represent the difference between walking the tightrope or an armchair ride into the NRL finals.

Level on 26 points heading into the clash, the Warriors and Newcastle can put a gap on the chasing pack with victory in the pivotal clash.

The loser however could finish the weekend just two points ahead of those sides outside the top eight, and facing a nervous final three rounds of the regular season.

"We want to win, we're not thinking about losing, I'm definitely not," Warriors fullback Kevin Locke told NZPA.

"I'm going out there with a winning mentality and I think all the other boys will be thinking the same as well."

The Warriors were cruising having won four straight heading into last week's one-point loss to Brisbane, but the Knights have won their past three games to maintain their top-eight push.

Newcastle have racked up a combined 90 points in crushing Gold Coast and Canberra over the past fortnight, with NSW State of Origin winger Akuila Uate the star of the show with five tries in the two matches.

He goes up against Warriors giant Manu Vatuvei in what should be an absorbing battle out wide, with the Kiwi international having also found form of late with five tries from his past five games.

"It will be a big contest, big Manu is a strong, powerful boy, but I've prepared myself well, I know what's going to come at me and that Manu is going to be running at me hard," Uate told reporters.

"I haven't scored as many tries this year as I have the last two weeks.

"I've just been trying to play consistently, and I'm pretty happy to get back to scoring tries now like I did last year."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary surprisingly rushed centre Joel Moon back into his line-up at the expense of Kiwi international Lewis Brown, who has been dropped back to the NSW Cup.

Moon missed the loss to the Broncos after remaining in Auckland when his son was hospitalised with an illness.

Knights utility Matt Hilder will miss the game with a foot injury, exciting rookie Peter Mata'utia his replacement on the bench.

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