By Jamie Anderson at Brookvale Oval
The Newcastle Knights maintained their grasp on eighth place thanks to a 44-10 win over Manly on Saturday afternoon.
As a result, an understrength Sea Eagles side notched up their 13th loss of 2014 and now look locked in a dogfight with the North Sydney Bears to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
The home side started the brightest when in the 6th minute, Tony Satini ran a great line and clung onto a flat pass to cross for the opening points to lead it 4-0.
Over the next ten minute period, the Sea Eagles had the better of the field position, and also the chances, but were unable to translate this dominance into any further points.
And in the 15th minute they were made to pay as Honeti Tuha, who was a late inclusion, scored what was to be the first of two tries for the stand in fullback on the day.
Some eight minutes later, the visitors were at it again as a Toka Likiliki offload close to the Sea Eagles try line eventually led to a Pat Mata’utia try, and with Mantellato’s conversion, the Knights led it 12-4.
Further first half tries to Bryaden Wiliame and James Elias out on the Knights left edge saw the visitors head to the sheds with a fairly comfortable 22-4 lead.
If Manly were going to be any chance of causing the upset, it was imperative that they troubled the scorers first, and after some 17 minutes of the second half, they managed to achieve this.
A quick shift to the Knights left side of defence saw the ball get out the back to Michael Chee Kam who exploded into space and improved the position of the try to see the margin reduced to just 12 points with a touch over 20 minutes left on the clock.
Unfortunately though for the Manly faithful, this was to be the last time they would cross the stripe, as the remainder of the match belonged to the side in red and blue.
In the 62nd minute, the Knights marched up the field on the back of strong runs by Vaivai and Likiliki, and then Michael Dobson ran at the line, stabbed at a grubber and a flying Clint Newton won a 50-50 contest and was rewarded with the four pointer.
Over the next ten minutes, both Honeti Tuha and Clint Newton touched down for their respective doubles, while late in the piece, Chad Redman crossed for the game’s final try.
Josh Mantellato handled the blustery conditions well as he kicked six from eight of his attempts, with many of those coming from out wide.
Manly will have their hands full once again this weekend when they head to Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday to face Mounties while the Knights will enjoy the bye and the guaranteed two points that come with it.
Newcastle Knights 44 (H Tuha 2, C Newton 2, P Mata'utia, J Elias, C Redman, B Wiliame tries; J Mantellato 6 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 10 (M Chee Kam, T Satini tries; D Kelly goal) at Brookvale Oval.