Adam O'Brien's NRL coaching career got off to the perfect start with the Newcastle Knights kicking off the new season with a dominant 20-0 shutout of the Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium.
O'Brien promised a performance full of effort and resilience in the defence and his players delivered in spades.
In front of 10,239 fans who braved wet and windy conditions, the Knights were relentless. If it's the last time fans see there team live for quite some time because of the virus lockout, they can be well satisfied.
Among a host of stars, new hooker Jayden Brailey stood out but he had plenty of mates with Mitch Barnett, David Klemmer, Kalyn Ponga and young centre Gehamat Shibasaki all prominent.
Highlighting the Knights' defensive effort, it was the first time in six seasons they had kept an opponent scoreless. The last time was a 30-0 thrashing of Cronulla back in round 4, 2014.
The Knights ran into driving rain and a gale in the opening 40 minutes but off the back of some great defence, still led 10-0 at halftime.
The Warriors paid a heavy price for conceding seven penalties in the opening 18 minutes with the home side running in two tries.
Prop Daniel Saifiti was an unlikely first scorer, reaching out and scoring the Knights opener after just nine minutes when he stormed through Adam Blair after taking an inside pass from Mitchell Pearce. Kalyn Ponga converted from close range for a 6-0 lead.
Thanks to the lopsided penalty count, all the early pressure was coming from the Knights and it was 10-0 after 18 minutes after winger Edrick Lee crossed out wide.
The Knights enjoyed some good fortune in the lead up with a Ponga grubber rebounding kindly for Kurt Mann but the five-eighth still had plenty to do to position Lee for the four pointer.
The Warriors ill-discipline saw five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita spend 10 minutes in the sin bin for repeated infringements but the Knights were unable to take advantage of having an extra man.
If the opening 20 minutes was all Newcastle, the Warriors dominated the back end of the half but could not penetrate a resolute defence from the home side.
They went close 13 minutes from the break after a 40-20 from halfback Blake Green put them on the attack.
Winger Patrick Herbert looked set to score in the corner but Ponga put his body on the line to haul his progress just short.
The Knights were perfect with the footy in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and raced to a 20-0 with the points all coming from Ponga.
He kicked two penalty goals to extend the advantage to 14-0 and then finished off some brilliant work from Mann and Pearce to score. Mann started it when he bounced out of a tackle and found Pearce on the front foot.
The Knights skipper then summed it up perfectly, coming up with a perfectly executed left foot grubber for Ponga to gather and dive over.
Earlier MATCH BLOG: