14 Mar 2020

Warriors shut out in season-opener

8:23 pm on 14 March 2020

Newcastle have shut out the Warriors 20-0 at a wet, wind-lashed McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck reacts to a bunker decision.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck reacts to a bunker decision. Photo: Photosport

In what could be the Warriors' last game for the foreseeable future because of strict new travel restrictions imposed by the New Zealand Government, they trailed 10-0 at half-time despite a strong wind at their backs and the Knights went on with the job in the second half.

Led by NSW props David Klemmer and Daniel Saifiti, back-rower Mitch Barnett and new hooker Jayden Brailey, the Newcastle forwards emphatically won the battle of the middle.

They often drove the Warriors big men backwards in gang tackles, kept Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck under wraps, and scrambled well on the few occasions the visitors threatened.

Despite the slippery conditions, the Warriors completed 19 of 21 sets in the first half but paid the price for their ill-discipline. They conceded eight penalties in the first 20 minutes to trail 10-0 and lost five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita to the sin-bin for those repeated infringements.

Though they did not concede any points while Harris-Tavita was in the sheds, the Warriors could not post any either despite benefiting from three straight penalties.

Having conceded eight penalties in the first half, the Warriors gave away four more in the first eight minutes of the second half to again earn the ire of referee Henry Perenara.

Ponga converted two of those into goals in the 44th and 49th minutes to extend Newcastle's lead to 14-0, then he was on the spot to score Newcastle's third try five minutes later.

The Warriors enjoyed a small victory in the 63rd minute when Tuivasa-Sheck successfully challenged a knock-on call against them. After video review, it was clear Glasby knocked on first, giving Tuivasa-Sheck the first successful captain's challenge of the season.