The Newcastle Knights had a successful trip to Lottoland, coming away with the two competition points after narrowly defeating the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night.
On Friday night at Lottoland, the Newcastle Knights defeated the Manly Sea Eagles by six after a late try to Nathan Ross. Both sides were scrappy in patches of the match, however, held each other out enough to keep it to a low scoring affair, the Knights winning 18-12.
Mitchell Pearce Was Missed
Despite a win for the visiting Newcastle side, it was evident that Mitchell Pearce was missed. While the club had a strong line-up, Pearce has been an invaluable addition to the club this season, and his experience and skill (particularly his kicking ability) were missed by the Knights when they took to the field against Manly on Friday night. However, credit is to be given to the Newcastle Knights who lined up and managed to narrowly get the win.
Injury Causes Manly Headache
The Sea Eagles lost Matthew Wright early on in the match after failing a concussion test, and Lachlan Croker left the field after a suspected ACL injury which will leave him out for the remainder of the season. Both of these losses to Manly’s 17 for Friday night happened in the first half, which caused a headache for the interchange bench, and only added to the injury toll that is currently causing trouble at Manly.
Manly’s Closest in Weeks
In the weeks leading up to this match, the Manly Sea Eagles have lost by margins not quite as narrow as Friday night. Losing by just six points will sting for the Manly club, however, suggests improvements in both attack and defence. Despite still being scrappy, Manly’s performance was an improvement from what they have produced recently, with coach Trent Barrett saying their first half was some of their best football they have played in weeks. The narrow scoreline may potentially give the Sea Eagles confidence leading into next round.
Kalyn Ponga Steps Up
He has been dubbed Newcastle’s ‘buy of the year.’ While Ponga has strongly contributed to the success of his side all season, in the absence of Mitchell Pearce the twenty-year-old stepped up to the plate and was the best on the field for the Knights in their victory over Manly. He was deserving of the man of the match, playing one of his best games yet contributing successfully to the victory for his Newcastle teammates.
Manly Sea Eagles 12
Tries: Dylan Walker, Shaun Lane
Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 2
Newcastle Knights 18
Tries: Connor Watson, Slade Griffin, Nathan Ross
Goals: Ken Sio 3