Watch: Blake Green turns back the clock with razzle dazzle play, tears Knights to pieces to score solo stunner

Seven years of waiting for NRL finals action is almost over for the Warriors after they shunted aside Newcastle 20-4 in Auckland.

Another electric performance from captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck helped hand the Warriors the initiative on Friday night as they notched their 13th win in a vastly improved season.

They could be as high as sixth with three rounds to play and appear destined to play in the post-season for the first time since their 2011 grand final defeat.

Fullback Tuivasa-Sheck was a constant handful with his running, reproducing his compelling form from last week's upset of St George Illawarra.

He ran for close to 300m, winning the personal battle with rising Knights opposite Kalyn Ponga.

Halfback Shaun Johnson also produced some decisive touches, taking advantage of a pack led strongly by Adam Blair.

The high point of one-sided match was a bullocking try to winger David Fusitu'a to celebrate his Warriors contract extension through to 2023.

Newcastle suffered a third straight loss.

There was disappointment for halfback Mitchell Pearce, who shook off a leg injury to play his 250th NRL match.

Warriors hooker Issac Luke reached the same milestone, helping his pack roll forward in a manner not seen for several weeks.

Newcastle winger Ken Sio barged over for the game's opening try, ignoring the four defenders clinging to him.

That sparked the hosts to life.

Johnson set up the opener through a neat inside pass to Gerard Beale, who unleashed the first Warriors offload of the game on the half-hour mark to put Blair over.

Johnson's cut-out pass gave Fusitu'a space 20m out and sent cover defender Kalyn Ponga flying on his way to a 16th try of the season.

His 11th try in six matches against the Knights handed the Warriors a 12-4 advantage at the break.

Five-eighth Blake Green scythed through a lazy Newcastle ruck defence for his second try of the season.

Any hope of a Newcastle win disappeared when Aidan Guerra failed to ground a grubber kick midway through the second spell before Johnson slotted a late penalty.


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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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