Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a hard fought 18-14 victory over a gallant Newcastle Knights at Lottoland tonight in round 14 of the Telstra Premiership.
In a dour struggle played in torrential rain in front of a small crowd, the Sea Eagles overcame a two point half-time deficit to secure the vital two points to move to 18 competition points and into the top four subject to weekend’s results.
Manly have won eight of 13 matches this season heading into the team’s second bye next weekend.
The Knights opened the scoring in the 18th minute through a penalty goal in front of the posts to Brock Lamb after he earlier landed a 40/20 kick.
Three minutes later, the Sea Eagles crossed for the first try when former Knights winger Akuila Uate continued his fine form when he dived over in the right corner. Winger Matthew Wright converted try for 6-2 lead.
Newcastle drew level in the 36th minute when a grubber kick by half-back Jaelen Feeney saw the ball bounce off the foot of Frank Winterstein before Feeney toed it through to score. Lamb converted for an 8-6 lead to the Knights at half-time.
The Sea Eagles blew a tryscoring opportunity in the 47th minute when centre Brian Kelly dropped a floating pass from five-eighth Blake Green went to ground with the line just 10 metres away.
However a determined angle run by second-rower Curtis Sironen saw Manly regain the lead when he scored next to the posts. Wright converted the try for a 12-8 lead after 51 minutes.
Uate grabbed his second try in the 58th minute after he crossed from a scrum win inside Newcastle’s quarter. He sold the try well after replays showed he lost the ball in trying to ground it. The referee awarded the try without calling for the bunker. Wright converted the try from the sideline for an 18-8 lead after 60 minutes.
Levi reduced the margin to 18-12 with Lamb converting the try for the 18-14 scoreline with five minutes remaining.
The Sea Eagles dug deep in defence to take the win in a scrappy game.