Warriors win season opener over Newcastle Knights

New coach, seven off-season signings in the starting side and a different result for the Warriors to kick off the NRL season.

The Warriors beat the Newcastle Knights 20-12 to continue the Knights hoodoo in New Zealand and start a new era of their own under coach Andrew Webster strongly.

RNZ reports the Knights have now only won two of their past 15 games in New Zealand and for the first time in six seasons they lost in round one.

The Knights were on the scoreboard less than two minutes into their season opener, scoring an easy try to Lachlan Fitzgibbon converted by new recruit Jackson Hastings.

It took more than 20 minutes for the Warriors to respond but wing Edward Kosi, who was a late replacement in the starting side for the injured Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, scored to reduce the deficit.

A try for Bunty Afoa four minutes later gave the Warriors a 10-6 lead which they took into halftime.

The Warriors could have had a bigger lead, with Marata Niukore held up over the line and Brayden Wiliame spilling the ball close to the line in the minutes before halftime.

After the break, the Knights briefly regained the lead through a try for Hymel Hunt before Warriors returnee Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad made the most of his first appearance for his hometown club since 2018 when scored a try off a Wiliame linebreak.

The Knights were reduced to 12 men just before the hour mark when Phoenix Crossed was sinbinned after a string of penalties to the visitors.

A gutsy defensive effort in the final 15 minutes, including try-saving tackles from Nicoll-Klokstad and Adam Pompey, kept the Warriors in front.

A late Wayde Egan try and Shaun Johnson conversion then put the result beyond doubt.

It was the first time in 25 years that the Warriors had opened their season on a Friday - something they may be asking to do again next season if they could pick up a similar result.


Edward Kosi of the New Zealand Warriors scores a try during the NRL Premiership Photo: Masanori Udagawa/Photosport