7 Jul 2019

Warriors dig deep in Newcastle

6:38 am on 7 July 2019

A 76th-minute try to Sam Lisone has handed the Warriors a heart-stopping 24-20 comeback win over a depleted Newcastle in the NRL.

Warriors prop Sam Lisone celebrates his match-winning try against the Knights in Newcastle.

Warriors prop Sam Lisone celebrates his match-winning try against the Knights in Newcastle. Photo: Photosport

The Warriors were trailing by two on Saturday when Lisone collected a Blake Green grubber Knights No.1 Connor Watson failed to defuse.

The Knights had a number of opportunities in the waning moments, which included Agnatius Paasi's sin-binning for a professional foul.

But a determined Warriors outfit held on for a sorely-needed victory.

Lisone's game-winner saved NRL officials from what would have been a controversial victory for the home side at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Warriors showed plenty of fight in turning a 10-point halftime deficit into an 18-14 lead with a three-try, 12-minute blitz that included two to Ken Maumalo.

The Warriors winger thought he had sealed the victory when he dove over for a third in the 66th minute, only to be overturned by the bunker.

Subsequent replays showed Maumalo, who was among the Warriors' best with 209 metres and two line breaks, planting the ball cleanly inside the corner post.

The drama continued minutes later when Sione Mata'utia crossed for what also looked to be the game-winner, despite a concussion to Peta Hiku.

The Warriors centre was felled after an attempted tackle on Jesse Ramien, however referees allowed play to continue and Mata'utia duly crossed over.

"I've given up trying to give my view on it because at the end of the day, they're pushing the button," Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said of the Maumalo call.

"Over the course of the last couple of weeks there's been a few howlers, but yeah, what's saying what I think about it going to change?"

The Warriors remain in 12th spot despite the win, while the Knights stay fifth.

With Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer, Daniel Saifti and Tim Glasby in State of Origin camp and Kalyn Ponga injured, the stage was set for the Warriors.

They were even offered some early looks at the tryline - first-half plays inside the opposition read 20-4 in their favour - but could only manage a penalty goal.

On the flip side, Newcastle took advantage of all the luck that fell their way.

Mata'utia drew first blood when he took a Lachlan Fitzgibbon offload in the 29th minute, despite the referees missing a knock-on in the lead-up.

Then Fitzgibbon himself enjoyed some good fortune when David Fusitu'a failed to plant a Kurt Mann grubber on the stroke of halftime for a 10-point lead.

Knights veteran Jamie Buhrer was also cited for a second-half crusher tackle.

Coach Nathan Brown was unhappy with the 10-6 penalty count against his team, but was otherwise proud of their performance without key men.

"Start of the second half was obviously a telling factor in the end but as a whole I don't think we can be unhappy with the way the boys competed," Brown said.