Sport Rugby League Mannering’s milestone to remember

Mannering’s milestone to remember

Simon Mannering scored two tries in his 200th match.
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Skipper Simon Mannering celebrated his double milestone with two tries as the Warriors secured a 38-18 win over Newcastle in Auckland.

Mannering scored both his four-pointers in the opening spell on Sunday in his 200th NRL match and his 100th as captain.

The win on the Warriors’ return to their traditional home of Mt Smart Stadium for the first time this season continued the momentum they have built under new coach Andrew McFadden.

They have now won four of their past five matches to be within two points of the top eight.

For the Knights, the defeat was their fifth in a row and keeps them near the foot of the table.

They had fullback Darius Boyd backing up from Origin but not Beau Scott, who was missing because of a groin injury.

Boyd produced a brilliant try-saving tackle midway through the second spell, speeding across in cover to force David Fusitu’a out after the winger’s 80-metre run.

That kept the Warriors’ lead at just four points with a quarter to go and with the Knights on top.

But that was as close as the visitors got as a dropped ball by substitute Chris Houston was punished.

Warriors centre Ngani Laumape, who was impressive in defence, snapped up the loose ball and gave Chad Townsend his first try for the club.

The home side blew out the score with blockbusting centre Konrad Hurrell and winger Manu Vatuvei – with his second try – scoring in the last seven minutes.

In front of 19,068 fans, Newcastle had struck first when Tyrone Roberts snared Jarrod Mullen’s in-field kick to score under the posts.

The Warriors hit back through Mannering, who produced an unexpectedly deft kick and regather to score.

They went ahead after two similar kicks from Shaun Johnson to Vatuvei’s wing produced two tries.

Vatuvei, marking Josh Mantellato – a late inclusion because of a knee injury to Akuila Uate – batted the first one back for Sam Tomkins to cross.

As the Warriors continued to target Mantellato, Vatuvei held on the second time to score himself.

Newcastle closed the gap through Joey Leilua, who pounced on to Roberts’ excellent grubber, but Mannering’s second try helped the Warriors to a 22-12 halftime advantage.

However, Newcastle continued with their attacking intent and were rewarded early in the second half when Roberts’ excellent offload sent Robbie Rochow over.