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Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei charges into the Knights defence during their clash at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
A colossal effort from captain Simon Mannering led the Warriors to a 38-18 victory over a flat Newcastle Knights side on Sunday afternoon.

In a special game where Mannering celebrated 200 NRL appearances and 100 games as captain of the Warriors, the lock-forward ran for more than 100 metres and scored two first-half tries as the New Zealanders handed the Knights a fifth-straight loss.

Back at their traditional home of Mt Smart Stadium for the first time in 2014, the Warriors continued their explosive attacking form on Kiwi soil, bettering their home-season average of 32 points in front of 19,068 fans.

Despite plenty of quality individual efforts - led by halfback Tyrone Roberts, who had a hand in almost everything good that came from his side - Newcastle failed to score more than 20 points for the eighth time in 10 games this season.

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Although they were dominated for most of the 80 minutes, it was Newcastle who struck first, thanks to a Manu Vatuvei knock-on which gifted them great field position on six minutes.

A clever Jarrod Mullen kick was plucked from the air by a flying Roberts, and a conversion from late call-up Josh Mantellato saw the visitors assume a 6-0 lead.

It seemed to only anger the Warrior beast, as they hit back with two of their own soon after.

First Mannering showcased his previously hidden ability with the boot, grubbering and re-gathering over the line, before Sam Tomkins scooped up a Vatuvei bat-back to take a 10-6 lead.

It took 25 minutes for the first penalty to be blown but the Warriors made it count thanks to a pinpoint Chad Townsend kick, which Vatuvei climbed high to gather and score.

The 100 per cent return rate from penalties continued four minutes later, when the Knights crossed following a Ben Matulino infringement.

Spotting that fullback Sam Tomkins was sitting off his line, Roberts dribbled a kick in behind which Joey Leilua fell on to reduce the deficit to 16-12.

Wayne Bennett would have been fairly happy to only trail by four at the break, but with a minute to go in the half Knights five-eighth Mullen made the perplexing decision to chip kick across field while in his own defensive 20.

It backfired in a big way, going out on the full and allowing Mannering to cross for his second try from the ensuing set.

The Warriors were flinging the ball around with ease but a penalty on their attacking try-line cost them, as the Knights marched down field and scored through second-rower Robbie Rochow 53 minutes in.

Instrumental once again in the play was Roberts, who went to the line and offloaded to bring his side back to trail 22-18.

On the 60-minute mark a spectacular Darius Boyd covering tackle was all that prevented rookie winger David Fusitu’a from going 80 metres to score.

But a Chris Houston drop inside the Newcastle 20 put the final nail in the coffin a short time later, as Ngani Laumape scooped it up and delivered a spectacular offload to Chad Townsend who jogged in for a try, which once converted by Johnson made it 28-18.

Konrad Hurrell and Vatuvei went over in the final 10 minutes, capping off a win which saw their club inch to within two points of the competition’s top eight.

The Knights on the other hand remain marooned at the foot of the table on six points.

New Zealand Warriors 38 (Mannering 2, Vatuvei 2, Tomkins, Townsend, Hurrell tries; Johnson 5 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 18 (Roberts, Leilua, Rochow tries; Mantellato 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 19,068.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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