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Ball bounces Warriors' way in NRL

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/06/2016 Sam Rigney

Andrew McFadden insisted it wasn't part of his team's game plan - just the bounce of the ball finally falling in the Warriors' favour.

New Zealand demolished the last-placed Newcastle Knights 50-14 at Hunter Stadium on Saturday to move within striking distance of the NRL top eight.

But as many as four of the Warriors' nine tries came from repeat sets as halfback Shaun Johnson routinely kicked the ball into Knights defenders on the last tackle.

On one occasion in the first half, Johnson grubber-kicked the ball into Knights winger Jake Mamo before regathering and off-loading to Thomas Leuluai, who found Manu Vatuvei to score.

The try gave the Warriors a 16-6 advantage.

Johnson was at it again in the second-half when he kicked into the Knights' defensive line for a repeat set that led directly to David Fusitua's second try and an avalanche of Warriors points.

But McFadden said, as far as he knew, the kicks weren't part of the game plan.

"Nah I don't think so," McFadden said.

"When you're competing hard, you make your luck.

"That's what we believe and that's what we're doing at the moment.

"The bounce of the ball sometimes goes with you and sometimes goes against you and we've probably been getting a bit of luck lately."

Knights coach Nathan Brown said those 50/50 plays were the difference.

"Yeah, it's been that kind of time for us," Brown said.

"Two of their first few tries were ricochets that landed back in their arms.

"Then we drop the one when we could have got over the line.

"They are the things that we don't handle very well at the minute.

"It's something that we've got to learn to do as an inexperienced team that's growing and obviously the personnel that we chose to bring into the club have got to be people who can help take us in that direction as well."

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