Newcastle Knights 6
Tries: Kalyn Ponga (47)
Goals: Jake Clifford (48)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
With heavy rain in Newcastle, there was action in the first hit-up when Marty Taupau clutched his shoulder in pain after the tackle. Chris Randall was put on report for contact with the head and Manly were awarded a penalty.
After several back and forth sets in the wet, Manly got an opportunity when the Knights gave away multiple set restarts in a row. However, they gave up their attacking chance when Jake Trbojevic produced a sloppy play-the-ball right in front of the posts.
Manly compounded their error by giving away a penalty shortly after. The home side put in a strong set and found themselves on the attack. The moved the ball to the right and Dom Young looked to have crossed for a try in the corner. However, the bunker reviewed the play and found Kieran Foran was obstructed in the lead-up.
The overturned try wasn’t the only bad news for the Knights, as Dom Young left the field with a knee injury. Off the back of the penalty, Manly turned defence into attack and grabbed first points. Fresh off the bench, Dylan Walker passed to a charging Andrew Davey who crossed for his first try of the year.
Following this, the Knights made a concerted effort to level the scores, but were dealt another cruel blow when Kalyn Ponga was forced from the field with a HIA. With Ponga off the field, Manly pounced. Daly Cherry-Evans caught Newcastle napping and put a kick in behind the line. Morgan Harper won the race to the footy to grab Manly’s second try.
The hits kept coming for the Knights as Jirah Momoisea appeared to fracture his forearm in the next set. The home side limped into the break down three players to injury, with Manly leading comfortably by 10.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 0 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10Embed from Getty Images
In good news for the Knights, Kalyn Ponga was cleared to return after passing his HIA. On the first kick of the half, Jason Saab dropped the ball cold to gift the Knights an opportunity.
Despite the big chance, the Knights returned the favour as Phoenix Crossland spilt the ball early in the count. It didn’t take them long to recover from their missed chance, however. Enari Tuala made a run off an offload from Bradman Best, and Kalyn Ponga supported on the inside to dive over for a try.
In a high-risk play, Daly Cherry-Evans rolled the dice from inside his own 30 when he chipped a kick out wide for Jason Saab. The gamble didn’t pay off as the ball went over the sideline, gifting possession to the Knights. With a full set inside the Manly 30, Kalyn Ponga grubbered into the in-goal for Chris Randall to score. However, the bunker denied the try on replay as Randall lost control of the ball.
Following their second missed chance, it was multiple penalties in a row against Manly that got Newcastle back into attacking position. Again, the Knights ill-discipline came to front. Adam Clune dropped a loose pass and Daly Cherry-Evans toed the bouncing ball ahead to shift momentum in Manly’s favour.
While on the attack themselves, Manly would extend the lead through a penalty goal after Sean Keppie had the ball stripped from him in a three man tackle. On the following kick-off there was another penalty awarded to Manly for a crusher tackle on Daly Cherry-Evans. Maintaining the momentum, Manly drove home their advantage with a decisive try.
Karl Lawton scored after he darted out of dummy half and proved too strong for the Knights defenders. The visitors rubbed salt into the Newcastle wounds when they scored their fourth try just minutes later. Dylan Walker stabbed a short kick into the in-goal and Haumole Olakau’atu grounded the loose ball.
Despite leading by 18 points, Manly refused to let up. They put the icing on the cake with one final try to Taniela Peseka off a Karl Lawton kick, securing a strong win in tough conditions in Newcastle.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 6 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 30
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Haumole Olakau’atu (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), 2 pts – Dylan Walker (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), 1 pt – Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
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