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Sea Eagles suffer controversial loss to Knights

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a controversial 14-12 loss to the Newcastle Knights at Lottoland today in round eight of the Telstra Premiership.

Trailing by two inside the final minute, the Sea Eagles were denied a penalty after  winger Tevita Funa was tackled off the ball after putting a kick through 20 metres out from the Knights tryline. The video referee didn't call for a penalty in a controversial finish which saw prop Addin Fonua-Blake sent off for dissent after the siren.

The match marked the first home game at Lottoland since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was played in front of a capped crowd of Manly Members.

The Sea Eagles started the game with plenty of energy and fed off the noise of the Manly Members in the crowd of 2271 as the Knights enjoyed a few repeat sets from line drop outs.

Manly lost captain Daly Cherry-Evans to the sin-bin in the sixth minute for a professional foul after grabbing the arm of second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon in an attempt to score from a grubber kick. Full-back Kalyn Ponga converted a penalty goal from next to the posts for a 2-0 lead.

Seven minutes later, the Knights went to a 6-0 lead when hooker Andrew McCullough darted over from dummy half next to the posts after Newcastle received a differential penalty from the scrum. Ponga converted for an 8-0 lead after 14 minutes.

Cherry-Evans made an immediate impact upon his return when he stepped and weaved through a few defenders to score in the 20th minute. Reuben Garrick converted for an 8-6 scoreline.

The Sea Eagles received a standing ovation in the 30th minute after the team were forced to soak up plenty of attacking raids on their line for over 10 minutes.

Manly then missed a possible tryscoring opportunity six minutes later but a cut out pass from Cade Cust floated over the head of winger Jorge Taufua.

The Knights took a 14-6 lead into half-time after five-eighth Kurt Mann scored off a crossfield kick by half-back Mitchell Pearce in the 39th minute. Ponga converted from next to the posts.

The Sea Eagles were denied a try to Cust in the 60th minute after the video referee ruled centre Brad Parker knocked the ball forward into Ponga's arm off a Cherry-Evans bomb.

Cust was not to be denied in the 65th minute when he dived over from a pass from Cherry-Evans. Garrick converted from next to the posts to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 14-12.

Unfortunately for Cherry-Evans, he was denied a second try two minutes later when it was ruled the ball hit the arm of Danny Levi and went forward into Ponga's arm.

The Sea Eagles then had a final chance through Funa but were not awarded the  penalty as the siren sounded.