Bennett impressed by Knights’ heart
Newcastle may have had to come back from an early 18-point deficit to beat the Warriors, but their ability to recover from a schoolboy error after halftime was just as important for their coach.
Having hauled back the deficit to be 19-12 down at halftime in their NRL clash in Auckland, the Knights put Akuila Uate over the line just after the break but, under no pressure, he dropped the ball as he was putting it down.
Instead of letting their heads drop, the Knights scored within five minutes after a 40m Uate run gave them momentum from which Timana Tahu scored and, from then, the roll of the game was with the visitors.
“The game could have been lost on that play if we’d have lost that bit of belief we had because of what happened on the tryline … but the guy that got us back was Akuila as much as anyone else,” coach Wayne Bennett said.
“We controlled our game again, got back to what we were doing and then we started to get the tries again.”
The victory puts Newcastle level with the Warriors in ninth place and keeps their NRL playoff hopes alive.
Bennett said he expected “everybody in Newcastle had turned their TVs off” after falling behind to tries from Nathan Friend, Shaun Johnson and Ben Matulino, but he had confidence the team could get into the game.
“When they didn’t have the run of the game they looked like any other football team. We just had to get that momentum,” he said.
“Coming into halftime we were in control of the game and it didn’t stop in the second half.”
Tries to Uate and Kevin Naiqama, both of which were converted from the sideline by Tyrone Roberts, got them back to 19-12 by halftime, and converted tries by Tahu and Dane Gagai sealed the victory in the second half.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan said it was a hard loss to explain, but said the team lost its way when Matulino, Feleti Mateo and Russell Packer went to the interchange bench.
“It’s an area we’ve been working on, but it also happened when we had less ball. In the first 15 minutes we had the majority of the possession.
“Why we flattened out we’ll have to investigate further.”© AAP 2013