Knights shut-out Warriors

knights shut-out
Newcastle’s Gehamat Shibasaki is tackled by the Warriors defence during the round 1 NRL match between the Knights and the New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

An excellent defensive performance saw Newcastle complete its first shut-out since 2014 in a 20-0 round one win over New Zealand at a rain-soaked McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

The Knights hit the lead in just the eighth minute when forward Daniel Saifiti stormed onto a Mitchell Pearce pass and reached out to bang the ball down near the posts.

Star fullback Kalyn Ponga booted the conversion to make it 6-0.

In the 18th minute, a Ponga grubber kick was picked up by Kurt Mann, who drew a couple of defenders before finding an unmarked Edrick Lee on the left wing.

The Knights went into the break with a 10-0 advantage and soon extended it as the Warriors coughed up the ball and fouled Ponga. The Queenslander then stepped up to slot an easy penalty kick from in front of the sticks.

Newcastle was handed another penalty in the 49th minute and Ponga added the extra two for a 14-0 lead.

It was game over just five minutes later when Ponga raced through to pounce on a Pearce grubber and slotted the conversion for 20-0.

All round two games in the NRL will be played behind closed doors and spectators are not allowed to attend matches until further notice.

Knights tackle Wests Tigers on Sunday 22 March from 4.05pm.