Fusitu'a scores four as Warriors trounce Knights
Four tries from Warriors winger David Fusitu'a has helped the Warriors secure a huge 50-14 win over the Knights at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Fusitu'a's three second-half tries proved to be the Knights' undoing, the bottom-ranked team in the competition in the game at half-time despite being eight points down.
The Knights welcomed mid-week signings Mitch Barnett and Brendan Elliot into the fold to face the Warriors immediately but it wasn't enough to prevent Newcastle's eighth-straight loss.
Down 22-14 at half-time the Knights almost cut the deficit back to two just minutes into the second stanza when Elliot latched on to a Danny Levi bomb and threw it back inside to Daniel Saifiti who ended the play by dropping it over the try-line.
Speaking after the loss, Knights coach Nathan Brown said the missed opportunity was symbolic of his side's season to date.
"When we dropped the ball with the line open, it was similar to what's happened a number of times," Brown said. "We don't have the resolve, fight or experience if you like to be able to regroup after things don't go our way. If we'd got that try I think our mindset would've been fairly different. Off the back that moment, they scored and things became ugly."
The Warriors responded in the very next set in the 49th minute when Fusitu'a scored his second try of the game.
The winger quickly make it a hat-trick four minutes later in a similar fashion to his second when he dove over in the corner.
Fusitu'a's fourth try came midway through the second half when handy lead-up work from the Warriors put the wide man away past Jake Mamo.
Centre Solomone Kata got in on the fun in the 68th minute when the Warriors caught the Knights short again for the centre's 10th try of the season, while prop Albert Vete's second try in the 76th minute would seal the 36-point win.
The Warriors started the game the way they ended it when they were up 10-0 after 10 minutes thanks to four-pointers from Vete and Fusitu'a.
However it was Newcastle's Jack Cogger who'd prove the star of the show in the first 40 with the young five-eighth able to help Sione Mata'utia through a gaping hole for the centre's try in the 19th minute.
Warriors veteran Manu Vatuvei helped extend the Warriors' lead to 16-6 in the 23rd minute after proving the main beneficiary from a deflected Shaun Johnson kick.
Cogger made it two try assists in the 27th minute when an inch-perfect grubber secured former Rooster Elliot his first try as a Knight.
Despite a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time from Trent Hodkinson, the Warriors headed into the sheds at half-time up 22-14 when Issac Luke put Bodene Thompson over from short range just five minutes prior to help set up the Warriors' eventual win.
The only sour note for the visitors was a hamstring to Manu Vatuvei, with the blockbusting winger unable to finish the contest.
New Zealand Warriors 50 (David Fusitu'a 4, Albert Vete 2, Manu Vatuvei, Bodene Thompson, Solomone Kata tries; Shaun Johnson 5, Issac Luke 2 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 14 (Sione Mata'utia, Brendan Elliot tries; Trent Hodkinson 3 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 12,222. Half-time: Warriors 22-14.