Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a hard fought 26-10 victory over Newcastle Knights today in round eight of the Telstra Premiership.
In front of a crowd of 19,072 at Hunter Stadium, the Anzac Day clash was a danger game for the Sea Eagles, taking on a Knights side on their home turf and looking for redemption following a 53-0 loss the previous week.
Half-back Daly Cherry-Evans made a welcome return from an ankle injury after missing the past three matches, forcing Api Koroisau to move from half to hooker.
The Sea Eagles opened the scoring in the third minute with a Jamie Lyon 20m penalty goal for a 2-0 lead.
The Knights had a try in the 14th minute to winger Nathan Ross disallowed after the bunker ruled he lost control of the ball in trying to plant it down with one hand.
Two minutes later, the Sea Eagles were left a man short when centre Steve Matai was sent to the sin bin for holding down a runaway Korbin Sims. A minute later, the Knights were again denied a try by the bunker after it was ruled winger Akuila Uate lost control of the ball in trying to score in the right corner.
The Sea Eagles soaked up the pressure and stretched their lead to 4-0 in the 21st minute through a second penalty goal to Lyon.
Manly were denied their first try five minutes later when it was ruled Tom Symonds failed to ground the ball cleanly from a short grubber kick by half-back Daly Cherry-Evans.
The no try proved costly for Manly after Ross leapt high to defuse a crossfield kick to score a minute later. Captain and half-back Trent Hodkinson converted to give the Knights a 6-4 lead after 28 minutes.
Manly regained the lead just before half-time when a strong run and surge by prop Brenton Lawrence saw him stretch out to plant the ball down for a try. The onfield referee called try and the bunker confirmed it, saying there were no other clear angles due. Lyon converted the try to give Manly a 10-6 lead at half-time.
In converting the try, Lyon brought up 1500 career points from 285 games , 510 goals and 120 tries.
Brett Stewart didn’t come out for the second half with a suspected hamstring injury. The Knights were denied a try in the 50th minute after the ball travelled forward from one player to another off a kick.
Manly took advantage two minutes later when winger Brayden Wiliame finished off a backline play to score in the left corner for a 14-6 lead. Lyon failed to convert the try.
The Sea Eagles went to an 18-6 lead when Tom Trbojevic sliced through a gap off a well drilled move to score out wide. Lyon converted the try for a 20-6 lead after 61 minutes.
Newcastle hit back immediately from the kick-off when Lyon punched the ball back only for it go behind his players for Tyler Randall to follow through and score for a 20-10 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles then lost winger Tom Trbojevic with a leg injury, joining Stewart in the sheds.
The Knights had a late charge at the Sea Eagles in the 75th minute but Lyon took Jacob Saifiti over the sidelines before a good run and offload by prop Nate Myles saw lock Jake Trbojevic score. Lyon converted for the 26-10 scoreline.
The win was Manly’s fourth this season and moves them to eight competition points ahead of next Saturday’s blockbuster at Brookvale Oval against the North Qld Cowboys.
It was also the first win in 14 matches for Wiliame who looked comfortable on his return to the wing. The win also saw Manly retain the Malcolm Reilly Challenge Trophy for the fourth straight year.