Warriors v Knights: Five key points
The Warriors ended an 11-game losing streak and won their first match in over eight months on Easter Monday, beating the Knights 40-18 at Mt Smart Stadium. Here are five key points from the Round 4 clash.
Bullet at the break helps Warriors
A great start to the second half set the platform for the Warriors, as they ran in three tries in quick succession and outmuscled Newcastle with the ball.
Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell admitted the half-time address was the most animated he had ever seen coach Andrew McFadden, with the spray receiving the ideal response back on the field.
"I thought we came out with a bit more intent in the second half," McFadden said.
"We had a really good patch just after half-time and really put the game to bed there.
"I was pretty direct in what I wanted (at half-time)."
Captain Ryan Hoffman was brief in his explanation of the speech, but believed it was deserved after a poor first half.
"Whatever it was it was loud," Hoffman said with a grin.
"I was really pleased with the way we came out in that second half, we got a bit of a 'rev' at half-time and we needed to shape up."
Starting prop Sam Mataora was once again among Newcastle's best, running for 78 metres and making 22 tackles without a miss.
The Cook Islands-born big man also made a line break and scored a try on his way to a provisional 53 NRL Fantasy points, and was singled out for praise by fellow forward Mickey Paea.
"Sammy has been outstanding off the back of a great pre-season," Paea told NRL.com.
"He is really leading from the front and deserves all the accolades he is getting at the moment.
"Sammy has been our best prop so far and is just going to continue to get better."
Warriors best when sticking to the middle
The Warriors appeared determined to spin the ball wide early in tackle counts through the first 40 minutes, which more often than not ended in their attack breaking down and the ball hitting the ground.
A more direct style in the second stanza saw their pack gain more yardage, and off the back of it Shaun Johnson and co were able to create plenty of chances with time on the ball.
After the match Newcastle captain Trent Hodkinson admitted the Warriors had been easier to contain when going sideways, despite their star-studded edge players.
"As you saw in the second half they did a bit of damage when they were going forward and played off the back of that," Hodkinson said.
"The first half they played a bit lateral and we found it a bit easier to contain, but through that middle once they got it rolling it was hard to stop."
Knights on report
Newcastle winger Nathan Ross was put on report in the 52nd minute for a dangerous tackle on Hurrell, where he appeared to twist the arm of the Tongan international.
Post-match Newcastle coach Nathan Brown admitted his player may have a case to answer at the judiciary this week.
"Hopefully if he does get a charge it's only a small one," Brown said.
"He (Hurrell) was in a bit of a dangerous position.
"I don't think anyone is coaching it and none of us want it to happen to our own players or the opposition."
Knights hooker Danny Levi was also placed on report for a similar tackle on Sam Lisone earlier in the match.
McFadden keeping victory in perspective
The scoreline suggests it was a comprehensive showing from the Warriors, but McFadden said the performance was still a long way off what we wanted from his side.
Despite scoring 40 points the Warriors only managed a 70 per cent completion rate and also made 11 errors.
"To be honest with you I thought we played better in the last two matches we lost," McFadden said.
"(But) we found a way to win today.
"It means we have got two points… it's a win, we are not going to get carried away with it."