The Manly Sea Eagles have solidified their place in the finals by defeating a gallant Newcastle Knights 38-24. David Williams scored a hat-trick of tries while Chanel Mata'uita and Kerrod Holland bagged themselves a double each. There was also some perfect kicking by the experienced George Ndaira, converting four from four from every angle of the park. They will play each other again next Saturday in week one of the VB NSW Cup finals at Belmore Sports Ground.
Newcastle put early pressure on the Sea Eagles. In the fourth minute Ndaira put a neat grubber through, but David Williams read it perfectly and showed lightning speed running 100m to score under the black dot.
The first half was a very close and even encounter although the Knights trailed by eight points at the whistle. The Knights were only in front once for the entire game when Kerrod Holland scored in the 27th minute.
Dom Reardon was at his blistering best, scoring himself a valiant try and carving the Knights defenders apart with his blinding speed and astonishing footwork.
Manly’s finals campaign copped a major blow when Delroy Berryman and Kurt Aldridge came off with injuries and did not return to the field, both gallantly refusing the stretcher and walking off under their own steam.
The second half didn’t start the way the Knights were hoping for as they gave away a penalty giving Manly easy field position. David Williams then went on to score his hat-trick after Jack Littlejohn placed a nice cross-field kick for him to catch.
Newcastle hit back with Kerrod Holland scoring his second. The Knights’ momentum was then halted when Brayden Williame and Reardon scored to put the deficit out to 16 with 15 minutes remaining.
Newcastle didn’t give up; showing their spirit with Matu’aita scoring again, but the Sea Eagles held off the resurgence by the Knights. The birthday boy Tony Satini put the icing on the cake for Manly after swooping on a grubber put through by the Manly captain Siosaia Vave.