Live updates: NRL 2020 - NZ Warriors v Newcastle Knights at Newcastle

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Warriors - 0        Knights - 20

FULLTIME - A forgettable first day out for the Warriors, who now face an uncertain few weeks in light of NZ's latest border restrictions. Check out the highlights above.

80 mins - Herbert unable to take a difficult pass and that will put an end to this one.

77 mins - NZ looking for a consolation try. Harris-Tavita rolls one into the in-goal but the Knights force it and take the dropout.

73 mins - Ponga grubbers through the gap to force an NZ dropout. RTS with a savvy play, finds touch 11m out with his dropkick to earn his side a scrum.

71 mins - Green looking to create something but the ball spurts free from his grasp like a bar of soap. Tough day out in these horrific conditions.

70 mins - Herbert does well to snuff out a bomb, earns a penalty after being dragged over the line while held. 

69 mins - Connor Watson tries to burrow over from close range but the video ref confirms he was held up.

65 mins - Knights chip through on the last, RTS can't reel in a tough one. Six more in the NZ red zone for the Knights.

64 mins - NZ penalty, Fusitu'a takes tackle two at the Knights' 10m. Debutant Katoa knocks on.

63 mins - Harris ruled to have knocked on a grubber, and RTS steps in to make the first captain's challenge in Warriors history. And it's a successful one! NZ scrum at their 20m.

62 mins - Penalty Knights. This time they'll tap and go from 10m out.

61 mins - NZ make a meal of it at the back, Knights unable to regather and score what would have been a gift four pointer. Neverthless, they'll feed the scrum 20m out from the NZ line.

59 mins - Harris-Tavita crossfield kick on the last, well placed by Green can't quite get there. Harris deemed to have knocked on, Knights take tackle two on their own 20m.

58 mins - No arms in the tackle on Harris-Tavita, and NZ have their first chance of the half.

56 mins - RTS takes another difficult bomb in blustery conditions. NZ have barely spent a tackle in Knight's territory this half.

54 mins - TRY KNIGHTS - Pearce with room to move after some weak defence, grubbers through for Ponga who gathers and crosses the line unimpeded.

50 mins - Fusitu'a cops a monster hit on his own 20m, and the tackles keep on coming. Six metre gain on that set from NZ. Yikes.

49 mins - Another penalty late in the count. Referee wants a serious chat here, warning one. Knights will take another easy two points here.

47 mins - Knights earn another penalty, harsh one on Katoa at the tackle. Knights 10m out...

45 mins - Pearce bombs on the last, RTS up to the task. NZ tackle two on their own 20.

43 mins - RTS fumbles, Knights just metres out from the line...penalty gifts them a fresh set from 10m out. Nope, they're going to take the gift two points to go up two converted tries.

41 mins - Ponga gets us started, Taunoa-Brown takes the first hit-up for NZ.

Second half underway...


39 mins - That chance didn't last long. Rough moment for debutant Taunoa-Brown, who drops one cold.

38 mins - RTS on the return, this time to the 40m. Maumalo does well to milke a penalty at the play of the ball, NZ with one last crack at the Knights line.

36 mins - Knights bomb a certain try with a poor kick option. NZ survive  and work their way clear. 

35 mins - Herbert cleans up at the back, NZ pinned deep with a new set and under pressure.

33 mins - NZ grubber rebounds 40m clear the other direction. Newcastle regather and are swiftly back on the offensive.

32 mins - Another Knights penalty and NZ launch again.

31 mins - Penalty NZ. Fresh set coming in the Knight's red zone.

30 mins - Knights hold out defensively, Herbert stopped short with a try beckoning. Knights clear.

28 mins - Blake Green nails the 40/20 with metres to spare. NZ on the attack...

26 mins - Knights with a big gain off the restart. RTS does well to take a towering bomb under duress.

25 mins - Horrendous conditions in Newcastle this afternoon, as the rain continues to pour down. 

20 mins - TRY KNIGHTS - Edrick Lee pounces on a grubber to the corner to extend the Knights' lead.

11 mins - TRY KNIGHTS - The hosts take the early lead through Daniel Saifiti, who bulldozers over on the cut to dot down next to the posts.

8 mins - BREAKING NEWS: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just announced that anyone arriving into New Zealand from overseas will have to self-isolate, due to the coronavirus. That effectively ends the Blackcaps one-day series against Australia, and will make Super Rugby and the Warriors' NRL campaign virtually untenable.

Meanwhile, this game continues...

5 mins - Back and forth tussle continues.

1 min - Hard-fought opening set for the Warriors. Harris-Tavita clears after a 30m gain.

4:40pm - Great news for Warriors fans, as captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is confirmed fit to play, having recovered from the the ankle he sustained during the pre-season.

His inclusion has pushed Karl Lawton off the extended bench, with King Vuniyayawa locked in and set to make his NRL debut alongside Eliesa Katoa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Betting odds

Warriors - $2.75            Knights - $1.43

Live updates: NRL 2020 - NZ Warriors v Newcastle Knights at Newcastle
Photo credit: Newshub/Getty

Pre-match banter:

Warriors' Beale ponders NRL future, before injury return

NZ Warriors utility back Gerard Beale freely admits his time in Auckland hasn't gone to plan.

At the end of the 2017 season, he signed a three-year deal with the Warriors, determined to help the New Zealand franchise win its maiden NRL premiership. A year earlier, he had helped the Cronulla Sharks break their 48-year wait for their first.

But six weeks after putting pen to paper, disaster struck, when he fractured his lower leg playing for the Kiwis in the Rugby League World Cup opener against Samoa.

Seven months later, he finally made his Warriors debut, but Beale struggled to hold down a regular position, logging games on the wing, centre, off the bench... even at five-eighth. 

Fast forward to August 18, 2019. The Warriors' season was on the line, facing the defending-champion Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Early in the first half, the Warriors led, but time stopped when Beale lay on the field in agony, after colliding with Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

He was eventually stretchered off the field and his season - like the Warriors - was officially over, after being diagnosed with a fractured patella in his left knee, the same leg he injured at the World Cup. 

His injuries have limited him to 25 of a possible 49 games with the Warriors, which Beale admits has been frustrating. 

"My time at the Warriors has been with injuries, which has kept pulling me back from giving my all out there," he told Newshub.

"I was able to win a premiership at the Sharks and being part of the first team able to win was special. Coming across to the Warriors, I was hoping to create something equally as special with all the boys."

Queensland-born Beale hopes it's a case of third year lucky in 2020. 

"The first couple of years have been tough," he says. "Injuries have held me back, but i've been working on other areas of my body to fine tune it, so I can unleash." 

Earlier in his career, Beale, who also played for the Brisbane Broncos and St George Illawarra Dragons, underwent two prior knee reconstructions, but the scar from his latest injury stands out the most. 

That setback has left Beale pondering his rugby league future.

The 29-year-old is one of 12 players off contract at the end of the season and Beale is well aware this year could be his last. 

He says it's too early to make the retirement call yet, but he wants to give his all on the field, in what he's describing as the biggest year of his career. 

"It's a massive year. Coming off an injury, I'm at that point in my career where, once I get back out there, it'll tell me which way to go.

"This could be my last year or I could continue playing.

"I get anxious thinking about it. I enjoy playing and I want to give my best... and we'll see how it goes."

Even though this time at the Warriors has been marred by injuries, the 11-test Kiwis international has used his experience to help younger players in the team.

Of the Warriors’ 30-man squad, only four - Beale with the 2016 Sharks, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with the 2013 Sydney Roosters, Adam Blair with the 2009 Melbourne Storm and Tohu Harris with the 2017 Storm - who have won an NRL Grand Final. 

He's also the Warriors' most experienced back with 187 NRL games played. 

"During my recovery, the coaches assigned me to cut clips and give feedback to players.

"There is lots of talent here and some need fine-tuning, so hopefully I can help them."

His recent injury was so severe, coaching staff - and even Beale himself - admit they feared the worst.

At the time, assistant coach Stacey Jones recounted how Beale's kneecap had "snapped in half" and was "just about popping out of the skin", it was that gruesome.

Beale was determined to get back out on the field and has put in the hard yards behind the scenes.

"I've had the whole off-season to get it right. If it happened in round one, my mindset might be different, but I’ve been lucky with the timing.

"Up until Christmas, I was locked in the gym, on the bike and doing rehab, but all of that has helped me to get to this stage."

Beale hopes to get clearance for contact drills in the next week and targets a return to the field in round four with the Warriors' reserve-grade side. 

"The last few weeks, I've been out with the boys, doing team stuff, all the ball work, running games. It's just the contact component I've been held back.

"I'll do a couple of weeks of full contact, instead of jumping straight out there. It will be a building thing.

"The body feels good, I just need to get that final clearance. It's not far away, getting close."

Beale puts some of the success to his recovery down to new trainer Craig Twentyman, who has worked his magic with the entire team.

NZ-born Twentyman, who previously worked with Rugby Australia, replaced the renowned Alex Corvo. 

"Seeing how last year went, they wanted to make a change and adjust that area, not only for the training, but with the travel and the way we keep the bodies fresh.

"The difference has been lots of speed and power, but we have been doing lots of the same tests and all the boys are all hitting their targets." 

If Beale is forced to hang up the boots, he will hold one regret during his career. 

"I hate to think how many games I could have played, if I didn't get injured, but it's what I signed up for," he chuckles. 

"It's pushed me into other things, off-the-field things to focus on. It's not the end of the world, but being an athlete, it's a short window, and I want to give my best and do something special." 

Beale isn't the only one at the club who had suffered their unfair share of injuries, with three members of the Warriors staff - Jerome Ropati, Ben Henry (wellbeing officers) and Slade Griffin (Future Warriors programme) -  all forced into early retirement with busted knees. 

"They're good guys to have around and been through some tough experiences, so they're great to go to.

"Being inured is hard, because often you train by yourself, you're not with the team all the time, but it keeps your mind engaged and you see things from a different angle. 

"Sometimes, you can get caught out not taking a step back - sometimes an injury forces you to."

Queensland-born Beale knows there will be nerves when he gets back out on the field, but he expects those to vanish quickly.

"I'm looking forward to it. I'll be nervous, but once I can get that first tackle and first run out of the way, I'll feel right at home."

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