In a tense match in Wellington on Friday night, the Andrew Webster era at the Warriors began with a win over the Knights, thanks to a pair of try-saving tackles in the final 13 minutes. Despite going down by a try in the first two minutes, the Warriors fought back to lead at halftime and eventually emerged victorious with a 20-12 scoreline.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s tackle on Kalyn Ponga and Adam Pompey’s stop of Hymel Hunt prevented the Knights from scoring, while a late try from Wayde Egan and conversion by Shaun Johnson secured the win for the Warriors.
With just two players from their previous season’s final game, the Warriors fielded a new-look forward pack and seven off-season signings. The Knights lost Tyson Frizell to an HIA and were reduced to 12 men in the second half when Phoenix Crossland was binned.
The Knights opened the scoring through Lachlan Fitzgibbon, but the 15 minutes before halftime were disastrous for them, as they conceded tries to Ed Kosi and Bunty Afoa. They missed out on potential tries from Marata Niukore and Brayden Wiliame before halftime.
In the second half, a Hunt try and Jackson Hastings’ conversion briefly gave the Knights the lead, but Nicoll-Klokstad scored to put the Warriors back in front. Both teams survived long periods camped on their own line before the Warriors sealed the win with Egan’s try. This victory marks the Warriors’ fourth win in their last five games in Wellington.