Saturday night the Warriors pushed themselves into sixth spot on the ladder with a nice home game victory over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium.
One of the most consistent performers of the season, New Zealand are looking set to finish in the top eight after winning seven of their past nine games.
Newcastle, on the other hand, are now out of contention for September footy after dropping to 12th on the ladder.
The Warriors win on Saturday night was in a big way thanks to a season best performance by winger Manu Vatuvei who scored a hat trick in their four-tries-to-two victory.
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Vatuvei got his first in the 17th minute to give the home side a four point lead.
Then Newcastle opened their account less than 10 minutes later with a Cooper Vuna try tying the score.
Vatuvei pushed his team into the lead before half time with his second in the 37th minute after latching onto a pin-point accurate kick from Brett Seymour, James Maloney converting so the Warriors were ahead 10 – 4 going to the break.
Back for the second half the Knights again tied the score when Daniel Tolar scored their final try for the night in the 48th minute right under the posts, Kurt Gidley’s kick making it 10 all.
New Zealand took back the lead in the 56th minute with Maloney kicking a penalty, then Vatuvei improved their hold on the game completing his treble in the 64th minute.
Bill Tupou added some final gloss to the score with a converted try three minutes from full time and the Warriors enjoyed a 22 – 10 win.
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