Warriors too sharp for Knights
Eight months and 16 days since their last victory the Warriors' team song finally echoed around the Mt Smart Stadium sheds again, after they beat the Knights 40-18 on Easter Monday.
A second-half scoring blitz saw the Warriors cross for five tries and secure the big victory in Auckland, which snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Kiwi side.
While far from perfect, the performance was an encouraging one from coach Andrew McFadden's men, as they returned to some dynamic attacking play which saw them run for 1,523 metres and make six line breaks.
A combination of some solid play from Newcastle on both sides of the ball, and a series of clumsy errors from the Warriors, saw scores locked at 12-12 heading into the break and the game looked destined for a close finish.
But the Knights never looked in the contest from that point on, failing to match the Warriors in the physical contest and making a raft of errors to eventually finish up with just 39 per cent of the possession and 46 missed tackles.
A penalty on their first set of the game set the platform for the home side's first try, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck putting Solomone Kata into a gap for a 6-0 lead following Shaun Johnson's conversion.
A no-try call just a couple of minutes later seemed to dent the Kiwi side's confidence, and a short time later Sam Mataora charged through the middle of the field from 10 metres to score.
Newcastle captain Trent Hodkinson added the extras to tie the game.
Fullback Dane Gagai then crossed to give the Knights the lead, before Ben Matulino bucked off Lachlan Fitzgibbon on 37 minutes to even things up once again at 12-all.
The Warriors turned sluggish into sizzling in the second stanza, crossing three times in quick succession to establish a commanding 30-12 lead heading into the final quarter of the match.
Both Blake Ashford and Tuimoala Lolohea took advantage of some crisp play inside them to get on the scoresheet, while Kiwi internationals Manu Vatuvei and Shaun Johnson added further tries, with Johnson converting all but one.
Five minutes from time Issac Luke took advantage of a tiring Newcastle defensive line to cross under the posts.
Knights flyer Nathan Ross returned serve almost immediately though, breaking two tackles and stepping past Tuivasa-Sheck to add a late highlight for the visitors in an otherwise miserable 40-18 loss.
Newcastle face another daunting road trip to Melbourne next week, while the Warriors take on fellow early-season strugglers the Roosters at Central Coast Stadium.
Warriors 34 (Solomone Kata, Ben Matulino, Blake Ayshford, Tuimoala Lolohea, Manu Vatuvei, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson 5 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 18 (Sam Mataora, Dane Gagai, Nathan Ross tries; Trent Hodkinson 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,895. Half-time: 12-12. On Report: Danny Levi (Newcastle), Nathan Ross (Newcastle).