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Manly Sea Eagles 12 v Newcastle Knights 26
at Brookvale Oval
Referee: Sean Hampstead
The Newcastle Knights have reversed their recent run of losses with a solid 26-12 victory tonight over the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
The match produced the occasional flash of brilliance, but was mainly built on a foundation of one-out forward work due to the damp and cold conditions. As a result, the match failed to reach any great hights.
The Sea Eagles dominated all of the early possession and territory, but could not translate this advantage onto the scoreboard. The Knights managed to claim the first try of the match through winger Brian Carney, and it wasn't until the 27th minute that Manly were able to finally crack through the tough Knights defence.
Despite continuing to hold the majority of the ball, the Sea Eagles found themselves behind 12-6 at halftime thanks to some great work from Knights forwards Clint Newton and Todd Lowrie. Both Newton and Lowrie lead the way for their forward pack tonight with plenty of strong runs and solid defence.
Despite a halftime rev-up from their coach Des Hasler, the Sea Eagles came out for the second forty and promptly conceded two tries to George Carmont and rookie fullback Nathan Hinton, who turned in an eye-catching performance from the back. Matt Orford produced a great kick for Brett Stewart to claim his mandatory Brookvale try in the 57th minute, but they weren't able to trouble the scorers again.
The remaining 20 minutes of the match only featured one further penalty goal to Andrew Johns, who scored 10 points to move within 4 points of the all-time Premiership record. Ironically, he will now look to break the record at Parramatta Stadium next week - the same venue where the record was last broken in 2001.
Manly were strangely flat in front of their home crowd, obviously affected by some key absences and suffering from a lack of attacking cohesion. Captain Ben Kennedy didn't help matters by engaging in a running battle with referee Sean Hampstead, constantly venting steam and disputing every decision. They could well find themselves out of the 8, pending other weekend results.
While the Knights were able to claim the win, they'll be looking forward to plenty of improvement to ensure they're still there at the business end of the season. They were solid without being spectacular tonight, and could easily have been beaten by a tougher opposition.
Manly Sea Eagles: 12
Tries: Brett Stewart, Anthony Watmough
Goals: Michael Witt 2/2
Newcastle Knights: 26
Tries: George Carmont, Jarrod Mullen, Brian Carney, Nathan Hinton
Goals: Andrew Johns 5/6
By the Clock:
Welcome to Friday Night Football, coming to you tonight from Fortress Brookvale. We've got two teams here who are searching for a win to snap some worrying losing streaks.
No late changes for either team, and we're all set to go!
KICKOFF: We're underway!
2 min: INJURY - Josh Perry has left the field, possibly with a dislocated finger.
5 min: The Sea Eagles have the first attacking set of the night, but the Knights defence holds firm. Josh Perry has returned to the field.
7 min: A second Sea Eagle raid is repelled. The Knights are looking solid on defence, but Manly aren't really offering too much in attack.
10 min: A huge Andrew Johns bomb is allowed to bounce in front of the Sea Eagles posts - Michael Monaghan just manages to knock it dead, so a drop-out is the result.
11 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Matt Gidley combines with Andrew Johns on the right side of the field, and some quick passing presents a gap for Brian Carney to stroll through and open the scoring tonight.
The conversion from Andrew Johns falls just short.
16 min: The Sea Eagles have received two consecutive penalties within easy kicking range, but have elected to take the tap instead. Despite all the possession, they've been unable to register a point - Michael Monaghan came close, but was held up over the line.
20 min: Clint Newton makes a great bust and passes to Matt Gidley, who had a clear run to the line - but the pass is called forward.
27 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
FINALLY the Sea Eagles are able to take advantage of the mountain of possession they've been enjoying! Anthony Watmough crashes over the line, following some good lead-up work from Matt Orford and Glenn Stewart.
Michael Witt adds the extras.
Sea Eagles 6-4
31 min: Sean Hampstead has given Andrew Johns a final warning - any further infringements from the Knights will be punished with a sin-binning. The penalty count is currently 6-1 to the Sea Eagles.
36 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Matt Orford is penalised for a limp-wristed slap that crept up a little high on Jarrod Mullen. Andrew Johns takes the opportunity to level the scores.
37 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Todd Lowrie receives a beautiful pass from Clint Newton and makes a clean break up the left-hand touchline. On the next play, Andrew Johns quickly shifts the ball to the other side of the field where Matt Gidley is able to put Jarrod Mullen into a gap to score.
Andrew Johns adds the extra two points.
39 min: The Knights make another half-break and are looking dangerous, but this time Michael Witt manages to intercept a Johns pass.
40 min: Ben Kennedy forces an offload that falls loose, and is chipped ahead by Brian Carney. With absolutely no-one in front of him, he knocks-on while trying to pick up the ball.
HALFTIME: Sea Eagles 6 Knights 12
The Knights have somehow emerged with a six point lead at the break after the Sea Eagles held the majority of the ball. Manly need to kick-start their attack in the second half to claim a result here.
Possession: Sea Eagles 56% Knights 44%
Completion: Sea Eagles 18/21 Knights 11/18
Errors: Sea Eagles 4 Knights 7
Missed tackles: Sea Eagles 13 Knights 9
The second half is underway!
42 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
What a start! Andrew Johns combines with Nathan Hinton to make a huge break up the middle, and on the next play Johns sends a wide pass out to George Carmont who strolls through an enormous gap to score.
Johns converts the try.
49 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Andrew Johns puts in a pin-point bomb that comes down right under the posts, and Nathan Hinton takes a clean catch and drops over the line. The Sea Eagles seem to still be on their half-time break.
Johns adds another two points.
54 min: Luke Quigley has left the field with a dislocated elbow, and Jason King is off with a rib injury.
57 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
A beautiful play here from the Sea Eagles. From a scrum win inside their own half, Matt Orford chips ahead on the first tackle for Brett Stewart to chase. He gets a good bounce and crosses untouched right next to ths posts.
Michael Witt converts.
61 min: With 20 minutes to go, Newcastle have used 11 of their 12 interchanges. Manly have lifted a gear and are starting to look dangerous.
68 min: A brilliant run from Chris Hicks gives Manly a great attcking opportunity, but the chance goes begging as Mark Bryant knocks-on as he tries to cross the line.
71 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Newcastle Knights
Andrew Johns attempts a field goal from about 35 metres out, but it rebounds off the crossbar and back into the field of play.
73 min: Brett Stewart tears up the touchline before putting a kick infield for Shayne Dunley to chase - but Brian Carney wins the race and kicks the ball dead.
74 min: Manly receive a penalty right in front of the Newcastle posts - the ball is instantly swung wide to Chris Hicks, but he is dragged over the sideline on the first tackle.
78 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Ben Kennedy puts the finishing touches on his running battle with Sean Hampstead tonight as he is penalised for backchat. Andrew Johns steps up and slots another two points.
FULLTIME: Sea Eagles 12 Knights 26
The Newcastle Knights have snapped their four-game losing streak tonight, recording a 26-12 victory over a disappointing Sea Eagles team that lacked any real attacking spark.
Possession: Sea Eagles 50% Knights 50%
Completion: Sea Eagles 32/40 Knights 29/38
Errors: Sea Eagles 9 Knights 9
Missed tackles: Sea Eagles 25 Knights 25
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Nathan Hinton
2 - Clint Newton
1 - Todd Lowrie