The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have kept their faint Intrust Super Premiership NSW finals hopes alive with a convincing 28-10 win over the Newcastle Knights at Brookvale Oval this evening in their rescheduled Round 13 clash.
In snapping a four-game losing streak in the battle of the ‘cellar dwellers’, the Sea Eagles kept their mathematical hopes of playing in September going, whilst virtually condemning the 2015 Premiers to the wooden spoon.
In a sneak preview of the future for 2017 and beyond, Manly called up three Blacktown Workers players – winger Marli Sini, centre Jerry Key and five-eighth Matt Place – into their starting line up for the match. All three played their part in the win.
The win, however, came at a cost with hooker Hugh Pratt having to leave the field in the 10th minute with a suspected jaw injury.
It was the Knights that started the better and, after gaining a repeat set, winger Mao Uta barged over from dummy half in the seventh minute to give Newcastle a 6-nil lead with Jake McNamara’s conversion.
It was the only time the visitors led all night as Manly then took control.
A superb 40/20 kick by Place saw Manly get field position for a sweeping backline movement to see Sini score his first try in Sea Eagles colours in the 12th minute. Skipper Dylan Kelly converted to level the scores at six apiece.
With Manly holding field position, another superb grubber by Place in behind the Newcastle defence saw winger Ben Fritz get to the ball first to score in the 20th minute to give Manly a lead they would not relinquish at 10-6.
Manly skipper Pita Godinet showed how well he recovered from being stretchered off against Norths four days earlier when he sliced through the Newcastle defence three minutes later to send debutant fullback Lucas Price bolting away under the posts to extend the Manly lead to 16-6 with Kelly’s conversion.
Manly had other chances in the first half – a 50-metre burst up the middle of the field by returning prop Addin Fonua-Blake from a short pass the best of them – but the Knights held on in defence to keep the Manly lead to 16-6 at the break.
Hopes of a Newcastle comeback were dented when winger Tyme Dow-Nikau dropped a bomb five minutes into the second half. Manly centre Tony Satini barrelled over from close range two tackles later to extend the Manly lead to 22-6 with Kelly’s conversion.
Newcastle had their best period of the match over the next 15 minutes. This was highlighted by interchange hooker Kurt Aldridge going inches short from a penalty, before the Knights swung the ball quickly to the left on the next tackle for winger Ken Tofilau to score in the corner for 22-10.
However, as the clock wound down, Newcastle had to chance their arm in attack as the match started to get scrappy on both sides.
With seven minutes left, a Newcastle error when deep in attack saw Kelly pick up the loose ball and show great pace for a back-rower by dashing 80 metres to score the winning try in the corner. He converted his own try for good measure to close out the 28-10 result.
Manly now enjoy the last of their three byes for the year this weekend, while the Knights have to ‘butter up’ against the confident Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at the Belmore Sports Ground this Saturday at 3pm.