Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett will be hoping for a fair share of possession against the Newcastle Knights tonight after seeing his side almost starved off the ball early in the past fortnight.
The Sea Eagles were put under enormous defensive pressure in the opening 20 minutes in their heavy losses to the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels.
"We haven't had any early possession through a run of penalties and poor ball control,'' Barrett said.
"Our ball control is really important if we are to get an ever share of the footy (against the Knights)."
The Sea Eagles and the Knights will do battle for the second time this season after Newcastle got Manly in the opening round in golden point on the back of a Mitchell Pearce field goal.
The Knights will be without Pearce after the half-back suffered a pec injury in the win over Wests Tigers last weekend.
Barrett said the Knights have plenty of talented players who can cause some damage, led by impressive young full-back Kalyn Ponga, who scored the opening try against the Sea Eagles in round one.
"Ponga is a huge part of their side. It is a bit frightening actually with some of the things he can do with the footy,'' Barrett said.
"There is no doubt they will miss Mitchell but they have got some really good players who will come in and fill in the void for them.
"Young Jack Cogger is a good player and they have still got Brock Lamb. By all reports, Connor Watson is fit again, and we know how good Ponga is.
"Playing Newcastle in round one was probably the worst time to get them with all of the new players they signed. In front of a full house on a Friday night, it was always going to be difficult.
"They have proved since then they are a very capable team. Nathan Brown has got them going well. They are playing well together and for each other."
Barrett called on Manly supporters to get behind the team after a tough week for all involved with the club.
"The players certainly need the fans' support. I understand their frustrations through the last few weeks but I can assure our fans that the players are in it for each other and in it for the right reasons,'' Barrett said.
"They are working really hard to get us out of this. Two points tomorrow night will be the start of it.
We've just got to stick together and keep going."
Manly vs Newcastle
Lottoland, 6pm kick-off
Head to Head
Played 49: Manly 31, Newcastle 18
Played 18, Manly 16, Newcastle 2.
Match: Sea Eagles v Knights
Round 8 -
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS