Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have been eliminated from the NSW Cup finals.
The Sea Eagles were beaten 45-6 by Newcastle Knights at Belmore Sports Ground this afternoon in the opening week of the finals series.
It was a shocking 'Knightmare' for Sea Eagles Coach Luke Williamson and his team who won six games straight to finish sixth to make the finals after sitting on the bottom of the ladder. The Knights finished the regular season in seventh place.
In changes made to the team named on Tuesday, second-rower Michael Chee Kam started centre for Brayden Wiliame (out) with James Hasson moving into the back-row.
Exciting young Holden Cup hooker and goal-kicker Hugh Pratt started the game ahead of Kurt Aldridge, who dropped back to the bench. Todd Wilson came into the side with Ben Fritz and Vinnie Ngaro dropping out.
Manly Warringah dominated the opening 10 minutes and were buried inside the Knights quarter a few times but could not cross the line.
The Knights opened the scoring in the 17th minute when a break down the right flank resulted in a try behind the posts to hooker Danny Levi. Full-back Kerrod Holland converted the try.
Newcastle went to a 10-0 lead when lock Luke Yates split the defence to score next to the posts. Holland converted to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 12-0 after 22 minutes.
The Sea Eagles had to score next and they did just that in the 25th minute when half-back Manaia Rudolph swooped on a crossfield kick from five-eighth Jack Littlejohn. Hooker Kurt Aldridge converted to leave Manly Warringah trailing 12-6.
The Knights went to an 18-6 lead in the 30th minute after Holland converted his own try from in front of the posts.
Holland then scored his second try when he backed up a break by winger Honeti Tuha for a 22-6 scoreline after 38 minutes.
The Sea Eagles had one last chance to score after the half-time siren but a desperation kick by winger David Williams went dead.
The Knights were denied a try on a forward pass in the 42nd minute but made amends three minutes later when centre Pat Mata’útia scored a 70 metre try under the posts. Holland converted for a 28-6 scoreline.
It became 30-6 when George Ndaira converted a penalty goal.
Hasson was placed on report in the 60th minute for a high swinging arm before Knights winger Ken Tofilau dived over in the right corner. Holland converted for a 36-6 lead after 62 minutes.
Holland stretched the Knights lead to 38-6 in the 64th minute through a penalty goal.
The Knights went further ahead when Jacob Safiti found open space to score. Holland converted for a 44-6 lead after 76 minutes.
Jaelen Feeney decided to kick a field goal on full-time for the 45-6 victory.