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Warriors close in on NRL finals

Newshub logoNewshub 10/08/2018
Adam Blair celebrating his first try for the Warriors. © Photo - Photosport; Video - Sky Sports Adam Blair celebrating his first try for the Warriors.

Seven years of waiting for NRL finals action is almost over for the Warriors after they shunted aside Newcastle 20-4 in Auckland.

Another electric performance from captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck helped hand the Warriors the initiative on Friday night as they notched their 13th win in a vastly improved season.

They could be as high as sixth with three rounds to play and appear destined to play in the post-season for the first time since their 2011 grand final defeat.

Fullback Tuivasa-Sheck was a constant handful with his running, reproducing his compelling form from last week's upset of St George Illawarra.

He ran for close to 300m, winning the personal battle with rising Knights opposite Kalyn Ponga.

Adam Blair of the Warriors © Phil Walter/Getty Images Adam Blair of the Warriors Halfback Shaun Johnson also produced some decisive touches, taking advantage of a pack led strongly by Adam Blair.

The high point of one-sided match was a bullocking try to winger David Fusitu'a to celebrate his Warriors contract extension through to 2023.

Newcastle suffered a third straight loss.

There was a disappointment for halfback Mitchell Pearce, who shook off a leg injury to play his 250th NRL match.

Warriors hooker Issac Luke reached the same milestone, helping his pack roll forward in a manner not seen for several weeks.

Newcastle winger Ken Sio barged over for the game's opening try, ignoring the four defenders clinging to him.

That sparked the hosts to life.

Johnson set up the opener through a neat inside pass to Gerard Beale, who unleashed the first Warriors offload of the game on the half-hour mark to put Blair over.

Johnson's cut-out pass gave Fusitu'a space 20m out and sent cover defender Kalyn Ponga flying on his way to a 16th try of the season.

His 11th try in six matches against the Knights handed the Warriors a 12-4 advantage at the break.

Five-eighth Blake Green scythed through a lazy Newcastle ruck defence for his second try of the season.

Any hope of a Newcastle win disappeared when Aidan Guerra failed to ground a grubber kick midway through the second spell before Johnson slotted a late penalty.

AAP 

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