Manly Warringah Sea Eagles made it three straight wins in the Telstra Premiership with a tough 26-18 victory over the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight.
The match marked the 200th NRL game for Manly half-back and captain Daly Cherry-Evans.
The Sea Eagles got off to a great start when winger Jorge Taufua (pictured below) crossed over untouched in the left corner off a nice floating pass from five-eighth Kane Elgey. Half-back Daly Cherry-Evans converted for a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
A break up the middle by hooker Api Koroisau saw him find support in Taufua who then stepped back inside before linking up with winger Rueben Garrick who beat three defenders to score a great try in the eighth minute. Cherry-Evans converted for a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes.
A smart little grubber kick by lock Jake Trbojevic short of the line saw second-rower Joel Thompson place his hands on the ball to score next to the posts. Cherry-Evans converted for an 18-0 lead after 21 minutes.
The Knights pulled one back when winger Edrick Lee managed to get the ball down from a grubber kick by full-back Kalyn Ponga in the 37th minute. Ponga converted the try to leave the Knights trailing 18-6 at half-time.
Newcastle reduced the margin to 18-12 in the 50th minute when forward Aidan Guerra was awarded a try under the posts with Manly arguing the ball was placed short of the line and on the foot of Addin Fonua-Blake. Ponga converted the try.
A penalty attempt by Cherry-Evans hit the upright in the 54th minute.
Cherry-Evans made no mistake two minutes later when he landed a penalty goal from next to the posts for a 20-12 lead.
The Knights were denied a try in the 59th minute to second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon when the bunker ruled Lee had a foot in touch before offloading a pass from a kick.
Addin Fonua-Blake then gave the Sea Eagles more breathing space when he ran through a hole as wide as Sydney heads to score next to the posts. Cherry-Evans converted for a 26-12 lead after 64 minutes.
The Knights then got back to 26-18 in the 67th minute when second-rower Mitchell Barnett scored next to the posts after hitting a hole. Ponga converted the try.
Fonua-Blake was sent to the sin-bin a minute later for 10 minutes after hitting Mitchell Pearce with an arm as he fell after catching the ball from the re-start. Pearce left the field for a concussion test.
The Sea Eagles dug deep in the final 10 minutes to withstand plenty of pressure to take the well deserved two competition points.
Manly now play St George-Illawarra at WIN Stadium, Wollongong, on Easter Saturday (April 20) at 7.35pm.