As it happened: Warriors turn out well-rounded 80 minute performance to soundly beat Knights

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's NRL match between the Warriors and Knights at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.

80min: WAR 20-4 NEW

FULLTIME! That does it and the Warriors take a well-earned and much-needed win at home. Easily their best second half performance in a month and it caps off a special night for Luke. The defence was strong all night and they played a composed second half to never give the Knights a sniff of a chance back into the contest. That does it for our coverage from Mt Smart tonight. Have a great weekend!

77min: WAR 20-4 NEW

WAR TWO! Knights are penalised for being offside and the Warriors decide to consolodate their lead with Johnson's boot. Odd choice with a set 10m on offer but a guaranteed two will help them on the ladder.

75min: WAR 18-4 NEW

Ponga looks to spark a late comeback but his skip pass is off and it's a knock on. You'd say that's probably the game. Warriors recover the ball on their 20m.

73min: WAR 18-4 NEW

Warriors go 87m on the set thanks to another classic RTS linebreak but it comes undone as Maumalo is penalised in-goal for playing a contesting Knight without the ball after Green puts up a high kick.

69min: WAR 18-4 NEW

The Knights just can't get out of their half. They've completed sets but it's all sub-40m which is giving the Warriors all the territory in the world to wind down the clock. Knights will need something special to change here to cause an upset.

66min: WAR 18-4 NEW

Warriors back on the front foot after Sio coughs the ball up in a big hit from Paasi! Warriors scrum 40m from the Knights line.

64min: WAR 18-4 NEW

WAR DROPOUT! RTS is forced to put down a grubbered ball. But for the second time tonight the Warriors go short and for the second time they get the ball back. Clever high ball from Johnson allows Fusitu'a to soar and swat it back. Warriors with the ball on their 20m.

62min: WAR 18-4 NEW

Knights have another chance to get back into this game after the Warriors lose the ball near halfway. Scrum coming up.

60min: WAR 18-4 NEW

Knights get into attacking territory thanks to a break by Ponga but the kick on the last is overcooked and the Warriors restart on their 20m.

57min: WAR 18-4 NEW

NEW DROPOUT! Warriors go end-to-end and Johnson goes to the grubber on the last. Fusitu'a gives chase and Ponga has to swat it dead. Another great set from the Warriors using hard hit ups in the middle.

55min: WAR 18-4 NEW

NEW NO TRY! Mitchell Pearce floats a perfect grubber through for someone to chase and Guerra is the one there to dive on it but he's miss-timed the dove and knocked it on! No one around. No reason whatsoever. Just a shocker. Warriors off the hook.

52min: WAR 18-4 NEW

WAR TRY! BLAKE GREEN WITH A SOLO BEAUTY! 20m out he steps inside his defender, dummies to shake off another and keeps the legs pumping to beat the last line of defence and go in under the posts. What a way to break the second half hoodoo!

50min: WAR 12-4 NEW

Warriors are immediately back on attack after the Knights cough up another penalty. Their fifth. Green finds touch again and it's a fresh set on halfway.

47min: WAR 12-4 NEW

Warriors look to attack down the right wing but the final pass goes behind Fusitu'a and into touch. First chance missed and it's a Knights scrum 10m from their line.

46min: WAR 12-4 NEW

NEW DROPOUT! Warriors make 56m on their set to sit 10m short of the line. Green and Johnson both come up looking at the line but Johnson drops a soft grubber through and Ponga has no choice but to kill it. Positive start to the half for the Warriors.

43min: WAR 12-4 NEW

Warriors keep the Knights to just 37m on their second set of the half and it gets better as Ponga's grubber goes into touch. Warriors scrum just inside their half.

40min: WAR 12-4 NEW

Warriors get it going again for the second half at Mt Smart!

40min: WAR 12-4 NEW

HALFTIME! Warriors head to the sheds with another halftime lead and they've earned this one. Slow, composed attack has seen them grind down this Knights defence and thy've cashed in on it late in the half. Knights started well but have just been under the pump for the last 15 minutes and had little chances to attack. We'll be back soon for the second half.

38min: WAR 12-4 NEW

Knights have one last crack after Johnson puts a kick out on the full. New set on halfway.

35min: WAR 12-4 NEW

WAR TRY! Green steps inside a rushing defender to get into space before linking up with Johnson. The Knights defence is out of shape now after Green's work and Johnson sees his man. Big skip pass to Fusitu'a on the right wing and he's got 10m of free space in front of him to finish it. Charges up as the Knights sweep across to stop him but they can't and he's in.

33min: WAR 6-4 NEW

Warriors back on attack again as they earn their fourth penalty of the game. Green with a great kick gives the Warriors a new set 40m from the Newcastle line.

30min: WAR 6-4 NEW

WAR TRY! Blair goes in and the Warriors are in front! RTS shimmies, shakes and gets the Knights line out of sync before passing to Johnson. Johnson gives a short inside ball to Beale who hits the line 5m out. He's short but Blair is there for an offload and he dives in to score. Well worked try.

28min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Pressure continues to mount as the Knights are penalised for tackling Johnson without the ball. Another set, 10m out.

27min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Warriors with another attacking chance as Luke earns a penalty. Warriors new set 30m out.

25min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Green tries another grubber but it ricochets behind the chasers and the Knights dive on it. The Warriors have been camped in the Knights half for five minutes and have nothing to show for it.

23min: WAR 0-4 NEW

NEW DROPOUT! Green grubbers on the fourth tackle but The Knights get there to kill the play.

22min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Warriors have another attacking chance after the Knights knock the ball on on their 30m. Warriors scrum coming up.

19min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Warriors with another attacking chance here after they earn their first penalty of the night. The new set starts 30m out but Paasi coughs the ball up in contact early in the new set.

17min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Warriors get into good attacking space after a break by Johnson. On the last, Green goes high and it comes down 5m out from the Knights' line but Kenny-Dowall brings it in.

15min: WAR 0-4 NEW

WAR DROPOUT! Knights get to within 5m for the last tackle and Pearce grubbers one through. RTS swats it dead.

14min: WAR 0-4 NEW

Newcastle gets more good territory as they earn a penalty immediately after kickoff for not releasing. New set starting on halfway.

13min: WAR 0-4 NEW

NEW TRY! The Knights are in with Ken Sio on the left wing! He's got space to finish after a questionable pass from Pearce. But the refs are happy and don't even go to the bunker after he's dived into the left corner.

11min: WAR 0-0 NEW

Knights get the first attacking chance of the knight after the Warriors are penalised for being offside. Newcastle finds touch and it's a new set 20m from the Warriors line.

8min: WAR 0-0 NEW

And in the first hit up off the scrum, the Knights knock it on in contact! Warriors scrum in the same spot.

7min: WAR 0-0 NEW

An opportunity goes begging as Maumalo drops a sitter of an intercept. Just had to grab it and he would've been off to the races but it goes to ground and the Knights have a scrum just inside the Warriors half.

4min: WAR 0-0 NEW

First error of the game comes and it's a bad pass to Johnson on the last tackle which turns into a knock on. Knights scrum on their 30m. 

2min: WAR 0-0 NEW

Couple of big hits to start the night! Warriors only make 37m on their first set after a good defensive start by the Knights. Knights respond with a 51m set but the kick is average and RTS gets back to the Warriors 30m.

KICKOFF

Knights get us going and we're underway on a clear night at Mt Smart!

PRE-GAME

Roger Tuivasa Sheck makes a break: NRL rugby league, Warriors v Knights, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, Sunday 5 March, 2017. Photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa Sheck makes a break against the Newcastle Knights. Source: Photosport

The Warriors have returned to Auckland in high spirits after a historic win in Wollongong last week but they're still not out of the woods yet with Newcastle coming to town.

After last week's win over the Dragons, the Kiwi club maintains a two-win gap from ninth-placed West Tigers heading into round 22 and with just four rounds left, could significantly help their chances tonight with a win over the 11th placed Knights.

They'll have starting hooker Issac Luke's 250th NRL match to serve as inspiration as well. The Knights have their own Mr 250 as well with Mitchell Pearce bringing up the milestone.

After last week's win, the Warriors have made one forced change to their side with Peta Hiku returning from the wilderness to replace Sam Lisone on the bench after Lisone copped a suspension for dangerous contact last week.

The Knights enter tonight's contest on a mini losing streak, having lost their last two games to the Cowboys and Tigers.

TEAMS

WAR: 1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Gerard Beale 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Isaiah Papalii 12. Adam Blair 13. Simon Mannering

Interchange (from): 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Peta Hiku 20. Joseph Vuna 22. Karl Lawton

NEW: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Ken Sio 3. Sione Mata'utia 4. Cory Denniss 5. Shaun Kenny-dowall 6. Jack Cogger 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Herman Ese'ese 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Aidan Guerra

Interchange (from): 14. Jamie Buhrer 15. Chris Heighington 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Jj Felise 18. Nicholas Meaney 21. Luke Yates


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Watch: Warriors women's star absolutely flattened by pair of Auckland defenders in bone-crunching hit

Lorina Papali'i has been welcomed back to rugby league in brutal fashion after copping a massive two-women tackle in the Warriors women's exhibition match against Auckland tonight.

Papali'i, mother of Warriors forward Isaiah, cracked the inaugural NRL squad after returning earlier this year despite retiring in 2010.

However, the 41-year-old was given a brutal reminder of how physical the game can be in the Warriors women's 32-4 win over Auckland at Mount Smart when she ran the ball at the line only to end up flat on her back.

The tackle even made commentators shudder but Papali'i managed to get to her feet, play the ball, and carry on in the game.


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As it happened: Warriors women put on dominant display at Mount Smart to comfortably beat Auckland

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's exhibition match between the Warriors Women and Auckland Women's representative team at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

60min: WAR 32-4 AUK

FULLTIME! The whistle goes and the Warriors win their first hit out at Mount Smart with ease. Didn't quite keep the same standard in the second half as they did in the first 30 but still plenty of positives from the game overall. That does it for our coverage of this game. Stay tuned, we'll have the men against the Knights at 8pm!

57min: WAR 32-4 AUK

Couple of erriors starting to creep into the Warriors game now. This time it's a knock on on halfway which means Auckland are on the attack again. Sure, the result is in the bag but this isn't what they'll want to be showing.

54min: WAR 32-4 AUK

Auckland make their way back into the Warriors half with another penalty but they come up just short again! The Warriors' defence has been superb most of this game.

51min: WAR 32-4 AUK

WAR TRY! Warriors go end-to-end and Sarina Clark is in on the last tackle! After going 74m on the set to sit 6m short, the ball comes left to Clark and she puts on the afterburners to slice through Auckland's line and score pratically untouched.

49min: WAR 26-4 AUK

The defence holds this time and Auckland are denied inches from the line. Warriors restart on their 20m.

47min: WAR 26-4 AUK

Pressure continues to mount against the Warriors and they cough up the ball on their own line! Auckland scrum 10m out now.

45min: WAR 26-4 AUK

Auckland playing with their tails up now as they make 62m on their set. It's capped off by a big run that sees two Warriors tacklers go flying but back up arrives and the ball is stopped 5m short. First taste of playing against momentum for the Warriors tonight.

42min: WAR 26-4 AUK

AUK TRY! Kararaina Wira-Kohu gets Auckland on the board. After building pressure and territory for the past five minutes, Auckland finally break through with the prop powering through two tacklers to score.

38min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Auckland get another attacking chance with great field position after a penalty but the Warriors defence holds again and snuffs out a grubbered kick on the last tackle.

35min: WAR 26-0 AUK

WAR NO TRY! Warriors get to within inches of the line but they're held up short on the last tackle. Auckland play the ball on their goal line.

33min: WAR 26-0 AUK

There's an injury stoppage in play but both sides have gotten through their opening sets. 

30min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Warriors get things back underway.

30min: WAR 26-0 AUK

HALFTIME! That's the first half in the wraps and what a statement from the Warriors women. Near-flawless opening half from them and they've shown they have plenty of attacking options and a sound defence to work with. Auckland have had chances but just can't find a hole yet. We'll be back soon with the second 30.

29min: WAR 26-0 AUK

Veainu looks for another break down the left wing but she's ankle tapped into touch. Auckland scrum on their 40m.

27min: WAR 26-0 AUK

WAR TRY! There's no stopping Nicholls this time! Mariu sees no fullback in place by Auckland and kicks one over the top on halfway. Nicholls gives chase and wins the race by a landslide. Collects it 10m out and dives in untouched.

24min: WAR 22-0 AUK

WAR NO TRY! Apii Nicholls looks like she's in after running on to an inside pass but she's ruled to have used double-movement after being tackled to get the ball over the line. 

23min: WAR 22-0 AUK

Warriors on the attack again! after a 73m set, Auckland are penalised on the last tackle for being offside on their goal line. Warriors with a new set 10m out.

20min: WAR 22-0 AUK

WAR TRY! Hilda Mariu joins the party with a try in the right corner. Warriors make 67m on their set and on the last tackle opt to run instead of kick. They shift it down the line to the right wing and Mariu is one-on-one with 5m to go. She steps inside her marker and reaches out to finish it.

17min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Stoic defence holds Auckland out and it's a turnover inches from the line on the last tackle. First bit of pressure is diverted.

16min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Auckland grubbers on the last and it's deflected back to them off a Warriors leg. Six more tackles and just metres from the line.

14min: WAR 18-0 AUK

Auckland with a chance to fight back into the contest after the Warriors give away a penalty for not releasing. They find touch and get a new set 40m from the Warriors' line.

12min: WAR 18-0 AUK

WAR TRY! Another great space puts a runner in space and it's another great finish. This time it's winger Langi Veainu showing her gas down the left wing from 40m out and she goes in untouched. Flawless start.

9min: WAR 12-0 AUK

WAR TRY! What a run from Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell! Gets the ball on halfway with a great offload and she has work to do. Fends off one and burns past another as she runs 50m to score. Big start from the pros!

6min: WAR 6-0 AUK

WAR TRY! The Warriors open their try-scoring account in 2018! The Warriors shift it to the right and with numbers, Amber Kani dives in to score.

4min: WAR 0-0 AUK

Big attacking chance for the Warriors after an ugly bouncing kick is knocked on by Auckland just outside their goal. Warriors get a scrum 10m shy of the line.

3min: WAR 0-0 AUK

Warriors get off to a positive start with a 67m set in their opening attack but it comes undone when Auckland earn a penalty in their first set of six. As a result, Auckland reach the Warriors' 20m on their last tackle but good defence shuts it down.

KICKOFF

Auckland gets things going in Mt Smart!

PRE-GAME

Luisa Avaiki believes the inaugural NRL women's premiership is a big 'opportunity' for women playing in NZ to take their game to the next level. Source: 1 NEWS

The Warriors' women's side will get their first taste of playing under the lights in a curtain-raiser match tonight at Mount Smart where they'll square off with the Auckland women's representative side in a tune-up match for the inaugural NRL competition.

Auckland Rugby League general manager Greg Wahaiapu said tonight's game is about helping the professional outfit as well as showcasing the depth and quality of players currently playing in Auckland and New Zealand.

"The majority of the Warriors’ squad for the NRL competition will be made up of players from our competitions, and it’s going to be exciting to see so many of our women take the field together when they play against Auckland,” Whaiapu said.

"Earning an Auckland jersey is always an honour, and for the ladies selected it will serve as a reward for their efforts this season.

"It’s also another chance for them to show their talents and push their claims for higher honours next year."

The Warriors will be led by Kiwi Ferns captain Laura Mariu.

Head coach Luisa Avaiki said it wasn't a tough decision.

"It wasn’t a difficult choice given Laura’s experience and all her achievements in rugby league," said Avaiki.

"It was a pleasure asking her to take the role with the first Vodafone Warriors team in this inaugural NRL women’s premiership.

"Laura’s our most-decorated women’s player who has consistently achieved the highest honours in the game."

TEAMS

Warriors (squad): Shontelle Woodman, Langi Veainu, Alice Vailea, Crystal Tamarua, Masuisuimatamaalii (SUI) Tauasa-Pauaraisa, Aieshaleigh Smalley, Krystal Rota, Kahurangi Peters, Lorina Papali'i, Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala, Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell, Apii Nicholls, Va’anessa Molia-Fraser, Laura Mariu, Hilda Mariu, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Amber Kani, Georgia Hale, Luisa Gago, Lisa Edwards, Sarina Clark, Raquel Anderson-Pitman.


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