‘A big arm wrestle’ – Warriors reflect on tough win over Knights

“I’d be happier if I made less,” joked Kurt Capewell after being reminded that he had made 48 tackles in the Warriors’ hard fought 20-12 win over the Knights at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium.

The second rower was one of the standout performers in a game that was dominated by defence, although he came within inches of scoring what would have been a memorable try.

“It was one of those games, they completed high and they played really well. We were lucky to get away with a few things, but it was a good effort out there from our boys,” Capewell said.

The Warriors did it the hard way against an extremely physical Knights side, in front of another sold out crowd. For the second game in a row they needed to hold onto an eight point lead against a fast-finishing opposition, something that utility Chanel Harris-Tavita said the Warriors were proud of.

“We’re learning how to close out these games,” Harris-Tavita said.

“For us, if we go to the next level, we should be able to put on a few more points at the end of the game. Just so we’re not in that position that we have to hold that lead.”

Harris-Tavita was thrust into the match after only 10 minutes, when Luke Metcalf was stretchered from the field after suffering a serious leg injury. It was easily the longest stint Harris-Tavita has had in first grade since returning to the club after a year off, and he marked it with a crucial try in the first half.

“Playing that utility off the bench, you don’t know when you’re going on. Last two weeks I came on when the game was in the balance, this time I was on after 10 minutes. For me it’s just about fixing what I can control and building combinations.”

Coach Andrew Webster praised both sides after the bruising encounter.

“I just thought it was a tough game, it was a big arm wrestle in the second half and a lot of sore bodies. It was just a grind.”

Webster said Metcalf’s injury could be a fracture, which would potentially mean that Harris-Tavita will stay at half for the time being. Another scenario could see Te Maire Martin return to the starting line up with Harris-Tavita retaining his useful utility role off the interchange bench.

However, Webster did not want to be drawn on any talk of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck remaining at fullback despite an impressive display. The former All Black topped the run metres count for the Warriors with 283 and made a crucial defensive play near fulltime that denied the Knights a try.

“Charnze (Niccol-Klokstad) is playing, definitely playing,” Webster said when asked about the number one jersey’s status once last season’s fullback returns from injury.

“The things only Roger can be good at, he was good at tonight…everyone thinks fullback is about highlight plays, it’s about where you put yourself defensively, how thick you make the defensive line look.”

The win moves the Warriors up to ninth on the NRL ladder, they head to Sydney to play the Rabbitohs next Saturday afternoon.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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