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Finals in sight as Warriors beat Knights

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's brilliance has helped steer the Warriors to a 20-4 win over Newcastle and to the verge of the NRL finals.

Finals in sight as Warriors beat Knights

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's brilliance has helped steer the Warriors to a 20-4 win over Newcastle and to the verge of the NRL finals.

ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK of the Warriors looks to pass the ball during the NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia.
ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK of the Warriors looks to pass the ball during the NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia. Picture:Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

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 was instrumental on Friday night as the hosts 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.

The 25-year-old didn't want to discuss his team's finals prospects, preferring to maintain a game-by-game mindset.

He was happier to reveal the source of his form purple patch.

Veteran playmaker Blake Green had simply advised him to become more selfish.

"Just narrowing it down to the simple focus of getting myself right," he said.

"It's really important for me to lead by example and make sure I'm ticking all the boxes myself before I help out the team."

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

The high point of the 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 and could fall one spot to 12th by the end of the weekend.

There was disappointment for halfback Mitchell Pearce, who shook off a leg injury to play his 250th NRL game - a milestone matched by Warriors hooker Issac Luke.

Knights coach Nathan Brown said his side were simply outplayed by the more physical hosts.

"Roger had a bit of a day out. Their two wingers are big powerful men," Brown said.

"It seemed like we were on our tryline for most of the game. That didn't allow KP (Ponga) and Junior (Pearce) to get our game flowing much."

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

Johnson set up the Warriors response through a neat inside ball to Gerard Beale, who put Blair across.

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

His team up 12-4 at the break, Green scythed through a lazy Newcastle ruck defence for his second try of the season.

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

AAP


AAP




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