Manly Warringah Sea Eagles made it three straight wins tonight with a dominant 30-6 win over the Newcastle Knights in round five of the Telstra Premiership.
In a match played in consistent rain at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, the Sea Eagles muscled up in defence in the opening 20 minutes to set up a 10-0 lead at half-time.
Manly then dug deep again to keep the Knights out before finishing strongly to record one of their finest wins at Newcastle in recent memory.
Captain and half-back Daly Cherry-Evans produced another superb kicking game to constantly turn the Knights around in the miserable conditions.
The Sea Eagles went into the match with several changes after full-back Tolu Koula was ruled out with a calf injury.
Winger Reuben Garrick shifted to full-back with Christian Tuipulotu moving from the centres to the wing. Brad Parker returned to the centres after missing last week’s win over Canberra in Mudgee. Dylan Walker also passed a fitness test on a quad injury to take his place in the team.
The Knights had hooker Chris Randall placed on report after using a shoulder on Manly prop Martin Taupau in the first tackle of the game.
The Sea Eagles were on song early defensively with prop Josh Aloiai and second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu pulling off some bone crunching tackles.
Newcastle were denied a try to winger Dominic Young on an obstruction call in the 20th minute after some ill-discipline from the Sea Eagles invited the home side into their quarter.
However, it was the Sea Eagles who opened the scoring when the energetic Dylan Walker delivered a short flat pass to send second-rower Andrew Davey over next to the posts for his first NRL try. Reuben Garrick failed to convert for a 4-0 lead after 24 minutes.
Some smart play from Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans to put a grubber kick behind the line on the second tackle saw centre Morgan Harper swoop on the ball to score. Garrick converted from out wide for a 10-0 lead after 34 minutes.
The Knights got back in the game with a converted try to full-back and captain Kalyn Ponga to trail 10-6 after 49 minutes.
Match Highlights: Knights v Sea Eagles
Newcastle then had a try disallowed by the bunker after it ruled Randall had lost the ball in trying to ground it from a kick in the 56th minute.
Nine minutes later, Garrick converted a penalty goal from in front of the posts after Manly won a Captain's Challenge for the ball being raked out in a tackle.
The Sea Eagles extended their lead when hooker Karl Lawton took off from dummy half to crash over under the posts. Garrick converted for an 18-6 lead after 72 minutes.
A grubber kick from Walker then saw Olakau'atu get his hands on the ball to score. Garrick converted for a 24-6 lead after 75 minutes.
Five minutes later, prop Taniela Paseka went over off a Lawton grubber kick from dummy half. Garrick converted for a 30-6 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles now play the Gold Coast Titans at 4 Pines Park on Saturday, April 16, at 5.30pm.
Round 5: Post Match Press Conference