Saturday’s first NRL Round 14 match is between Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warriors. The opening bounce is set to commence at 15:05 local time with the game to be played at Hunter Stadium. The home team Newcastle Knights are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warriors.
When: 15:05 | Saturday 11/06/2016
Where: Hunter Stadium
Tip: Newcastle Knights at $4.00
Value Tip: First Try Scorer: Nathan Ross at $18.00
Knights: 1 Dane Gagai 2 Cory Denniss 3 Sione Mata’utia 4 Nathan Ross 5 Jake Mamo 6 Jack Cogger 7 Trent Hodkinson 8 Sam Mataora 9 Danny Levi 10 Daniel Saifiti 11 Tariq Sims 12 Pauli Pauli 13 Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14 Tyler Randell 15 Korbin Sims 16 Jacob Saifiti 17 Mickey Paea 19 Joshua King 20 Lachlan Fitzgibbon.
Warriors: 1 Tuimoala Lolohea 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Manu Vatuvei, 6 Thomas Leuluai, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Ryan Hoffman (c), 13 Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14 Nathaniel Roache, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Albert Vete, 17 Charlie Gubb.
Star halfback Shaun Johnson credits a return to having fun for the Warriors’ 36-18 NRL win over Brisbane in Auckland.
The home side ran in seven tries to two on Saturday, with winger David Fusitu’a crossing for a double.
The Warriors’ last outing ended in a dismal 38-12 loss to Canberra before their bye last weekend.
They showed plenty of energy against the Broncos as well as a willingness to spread the ball as they claimed their fifth win of the season.
“We wanted to get out and have some fun tonight,” Johnson said.
He said the past few weeks, which included six players being disciplined after a late night out, had been tough on the team and coach Andrew McFadden had worked on lightening the mood in the build-up.
“Cappy has done a terrific job making sure we’re nice and relaxed, and enjoyed training,” he said.
“That just translated out into the performance tonight.”
Johnson, whose own form has been under the spotlight, was a key part of the victory as try-scorer and creator, and he also showed a renewed willingness to run the ball.
He praised the forwards for setting the platform and he pointed to a backs-to-the-wall mentality for the Warriors’ new-found energy.
“Everyone has been writing their two cents about us and we just wanted to bunker down over the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“We knew we were the only people who could change what was going on that performance was the first step in doing that.”
Brisbane, who were top of the table in May, have now lost three in a row.
They had four of their six Queensland representatives backing up from State of Origin.
They included skipper Corey Parker, who said Origin had had its effect, but he also played it down.
“We’re all professional in what we do,” he said.
“They beat us to the punch in everything in that first half. They had all the possession and we gave it to them.”
Down 18-6, Brisbane had two tries disallowed in quick succession just before halftime for forward passes.
Parker refused to be drawn on the referee’s call in the two incidents.
“Sometimes you get them on your side, sometimes you don’t – that’s footy,” he said.
“They weren’t the be-all and end-all.”
Johnson got the Warriors on the board when a double dummy opened up a gap to the tryline.
He was also involved in the second try, with his kick and regather continuing an attack begun from far out by veteran winger Manu Vatuvei, who was back after a month on personal leave, and finished by back-rower Bodene Thompson.
Prop Jacob Lillyman was next to score, but an Alex Glenn touch-down helped Brisbane peg the margin back.
However, tries to Fusitu’a and to skipper Ryan Hoffman pushed the Warriors further ahead early in the second half.
Brisbane hit back through winger Jordan Kahu, but Johnson’s cut-out pass put Fusitu’a over again.
Centre Solomone Kata powered over for the Warriors before the Broncos grabbed a late consolation through Tevita Pangai Jr.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change