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Newcastle Knights have kept alive their hopes of avoiding the spoon, with a spirited 26-10 victory over the New Zealand Warriors in front of 11,824 fans in the Hunter.
The Knights out-spirited a Warriors side, that is out of the finals and it seemed at points out of ideas. The five tries to two margin flattered the Warriors as a confident Knights side relished in home comforts for the fourth time this season. .
Buoyed by their breakthrough win against the Dragons, the Knights started the contest today in similar quick fashion, they put on two quick tries to Barnett, who himself has been a star this season and a pair of Trent Hodkinson penalty goals sent them to the lead at the break despite David Fusitua clawing one back.
There was some fight in the second from the visitors as they crossed first - interchange hooker Nathanieal Roache got himself a four-pointer which energised the Warriors. They started to make some inroads through a tiring Knights pack but couldn't find that final pass, finding the ground too often as another season goes down the drain.
They could sense the victory in the Hunter though, then as Lachlan Fitzgibbon then young half Brock Lamb gave them back a cushion, it was party time once again in the Hunter. Back to back victories and their fourth for the season as the optimism grows for the ardent fans who have stuck through the last three years, seeing there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
The Knights will face a much sterner test next Friday when they head down the M1 to face Parramatta at ANZ Stadium, while the Warriors head home to host the resurgent Raiders on Sunday at Mt Smart.
Newcastle Knights 26 - Warriors 10
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 16 Warriors 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Mitchell Barnett
2 points - Ben Matulino
1 points - Nathan Ross
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (26)
Tries: Mitchell Barnett (2), Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Brock Lamb
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Trent Hodkinson (2/2)
Tries: David Fusitua, Nathaniel Roache
Conversions: Issac Luke (1/2)