A 20-point haul from superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga led the Newcastle Knights to a 36-18 victory over the Warriors on Sunday.
Ponga scored a try, kicked four penalties and converted all but one of Newcastle's five tries, while also running for over 100 metres in the win, which was Newcastle's second in a row and first in Auckland since 2012.
The only negative to come out of the match for Ponga is that he may have a case to answer at the judiciary after being put on report for tripping in the first half.
Scores had been locked at 18-18 heading into the final 30 minutes before Newcastle scored three unanswered tries.
The club debut of Kodi Nikorima now can't come soon enough for the Warriors, who failed to score more than 18 points for the third week in a row.
Match: Warriors v Knights
Round 8 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
- LIVE PASS
A Ponga penalty and a converted try to captain Mitchell Pearce opened the scoring, before Warriors centre Patrick Herbert marked his first NRL game on home soil with a try.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall then plucked a high ball from the grasp of Ken Maumalo and ran in his side's second try.
With half-time approaching, Maumalo crossed for his sixth try of the year after Newcastle failed to defuse a Blake Green cross-field kick. Chanel Harris-Tavita converted from out wide to reduce Newcastle's advantage to 16-12 at the break.
Early in the second half the Knights reaffirmed their commitment to taking the points on offer by once again looking to the posts after Adam Blair infringed, but just five minutes later the game was locked up at 18-18 after Maumalo grabbed his second four-pointer of the day.
In line with the back and forth nature of the contest, Newcastle reassumed the lead with 25 to play, making the most of back-to-back sets inside the opposition 20 to score through Sione Mata'utia, who bumped off would-be tackles from Peta Hiku and Tohu Harris.
That wrestled momentum Newcastle's way and they didn't look back, scoring late tries through Hymel Hunt and Ponga – who skipped through a tiring Warriors line before beating opposite number Tuivasa-Sheck for pace.
The problems may get worse yet for the Warriors, with lock Lachlan Burr placed on report for a lifting tackle in the first half.