The Warriors head to Newcastle this Saturday to take on an under-strength Knights side, vastly changed from the last time these two teams met.
The Knights will be missing a host of Origin players: Tim Glasby, David Klemmer, Mitchell Pearce and Daniel Saifiti. That, compounded with injuries to Edrick Lee and Kalyn Ponga, will really test their depth.
- 41 – This will be the 41st meeting between these two sides since the Warriors entered the competition in 1995.
- 20 – The Warriors are slightly ahead in the ledger with 20 wins to the Knights 19. The teams have drawn once.
- 70% – The Warriors have won 70% of the last 24 games between these two sides, prevailing 17 times.
- 2 – However, the Knights have won two of the last three games between these two sides.
- 11 – It is worth noting that 11 of the Knights’ 19 victories over the Warriors were pre-2005.
However, the Knights hold the advantage in the 17 games played in Newcastle with 10 wins.
- 7 – This will only be the Warriors’ seventh visit to Newcastle since 2010. The two sides having played 10 games in Auckland in that time, including four in a row from 2011-2014.
- 7 – The Warriors have only won seven of their 17 games in Newcastle since 1995.
- 7 – But seven of those Warriors losses in Newcastle came before 2010.
- 3 – The Knights have won three of the last four games between these two sides in Newcastle.
Bully returns for the trip to Newcastle
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) July 2, 2019
The Knights have won their last three games at home; the Warriors have won their last three games in Australia.
But barring a reality check against the competition-leading Storm two weeks ago, the Knights have been in dominant form since they turned their season around against Parramatta in Round 7 – the defeat in Melbourne is their only loss since.
- 6 – After losing five straight games, the Knights then went on a six-game winning streak.
- 88 – Kalyn Ponga scored 88 points in the six games he played in for the Knights since Round 7.
The Warriors, on the other hand, have been anything but dominant, with their home form and scoring points in particular being big issues. But thankfully away from home it has been quite opposite of late.
- 24 – The Warriors have scored 24 or more points in each match of their three-game winning streak on Australian soil.
- 4 – Their last two losses in Australia have both been by less than four points, with their Round 2 defeat to the Tigers their only convincing loss.
The last time these two sides met, it was a Kalyn Ponga master-class that left the Warriors shell-shocked.
- 20 – The Knights scored 20 second-half points against the Warriors at Mt Smart in Round 8.
- 4 – The Warriors have conceded 20 or more points in the second half on four occasions this season.
But with none of their rep stars playing this week – with Ponga a particularly big loss – it presents the Warriors with a season-defining golden opportunity. A better chance they will not find.
- 2 – The Warriors have only won two of their seven Saturday games this season.
- 4 – Only the Titans and the Bulldogs have won less games than the Warriors’ five this season, both winning four so far.
- 98 – This Saturday marks 98 days since the Warriors were last in in the Top 8 – the morning of March the 30th before being thrashed 46-12 by Manly.
Unfortunately, early points on the board isn’t bringing the expected results for the Warriors this season. They have scored early more often than not, but that has failed to yield the desired outcome. Their defence is seemingly unable to withstand a full 80 minutes.
- 10 – The Warriors have scored the first try in 10 of their 14 games so far this season.
- 20 – All 10 tries have been scored inside the first 20 minutes. On four occasions, they crossed inside the first 10 minutes.
- 21 – However, the Warriors’ defence is leaking 21 points per game – fourth-worst in the NRL this season.
- 21 – Interestingly, 21 points per game is exactly what the Knights are averaging on attack per game this season.
They need their defence to really stand up this week. As history shows, this has been a high-scoring fixture in the past 10 years.
- 44 – Going back to 2010 the average combined points scored in this fixture is 44.
And after scoring just his third try of the season last weekend, last year’s leading try-scorer David Fusitu’a must be like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for this game.
- 11 – Fusitu’a has scored an unbelievable 11 tries in his last five games against the Knights.
- 3 – On two occasions he has scored three or more tries against the Knights, including a four-try haul in a 50-14 demolition at Newcastle in 2016.
- 2 – The Warriors’ leading try-scorer for this season, Ken Maumalo, scored his first career double the last time these two sides met. He has since scored another, against the Titans.
On the flipside, Knights winger and Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall has an enviable record against the Warriors.
- 14 – Shaun Kenny-Dowall has scored 14 tries in 17 games against the Warriors. Thirteen of those tries were scored when he played for the Roosters.
The Warriors have far more firepower on hand than the patched-up Knights. In particular, the two guys mentioned below.
- 846 – Ken Maumalo leads the NRL for post-contact metres with 846.
- 72 – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is second in the NRL for tackle-breaks with 72.
- 268 – Maumalo (268 runs) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (260) are both in the top five for the most runs in the NRL in 2019.
- 2,588 – Maumalo (2,588 metres) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (2,410) are both in the top fvie for most running metres in the NRL.
- 185 – Only Jason Taumalolo (215 metres) averages more metres per game than Tuivasa-Sheck (185) and Maumalo (184).
This game is there for the taking for the Warriors. If they can overcome the parochial Newcastle crowd and reinstate some faith in the jersey it will bode well for the next four weeks on the road.
- 21,725 – The Knights have averaged over 20,000 per game at home this season. The Warriors have only played in front of 20,000 people twice – once in the Anzac Day clash in Melbourne (losing by one point) and the other against the Dragons at the Magic Weekend in Brisbane (winning by eight).
7 – In their last 10 games of the season the @NZWarriors have to play 7 of the current top 8 sides.
— NZ Warriors Stats (@NZWarriorsStats) June 30, 2019