Knights' strong first half conjures surprise victory

An enthralling Newcastle performance stunned a quiet 14,267 Energy Australia Stadium crowd to produce what surprisingly turned out to be the game of the round. The Knights put on an exciting first half dazzling a shell shocked Manly side which led to a big upset.

Newcastle started strongly, with quite literally all the ball in the opening ten minutes. They did well converting the possession and field position to points early, the first try coming in the third minute to Junior Sau who muscled over defence to score on the wester sideline. Gidley failed to convert from a difficult position.

The next points came 3 minutes later in the 6th minute on the opposite side of the field to prolific try scorer Akuila Uate off a precision kick from Jarrod Mullen. Gidley converted to give Newcastle a ten point lead in the seventh minute.

Manly finally got hands to the ball in the 11th minute, and were able to convert possession to points in their second set of the match. Great work from Hodkinson put Lyon into space to give Ben Farrar Manly's first points of the match.

It didn't take long for Newcastle to hit back, this time a solo effort from Uate out of dummy half, burrowing deep to show his try scoring versatility. Gidley converted to give Newcastle a 12 point lead. The next ten minutes saw errors saw a lot less flow with both sides making errors and conceding penalties. Newcastle put on more points with a penalty goal in the 30th minute to give them a 14 point buffer.

Uate still wasn't done for the half, completing a hat trick of tries in the 36th minute, this try scored on the fly, with Uate coming from nowhere to steal a try from team mate MacDougall. Gidley converted to give Newcastle a 24-4 lead heading into half time.

The half time break saw the rains come in to Energy Australia Stadium and the second half began with errors and penalties, Newcastle took points from a penalty, but Manly were the first to put a try down, again off the hands of Hodkinson to Lyon, but this time putting Tony Williams in for the four pointer.

From there Manly began to pick up momentum and started to look a chance of taking the game back. In the 68th minute Hodkinson sold a brilliant dunny to score a try for himself. But that was the end of the Manly resurgence. Individual brilliance from the opposite half saw Mullen pounce on a drop ball and run 85 minutes to seal an emphatic 18 point victory for Newcastle.

Match Details
Newcastle Knights 32 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 14
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 21 - Monday August 2, 2010 7:00pm
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Jared Maxwell
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Chris James and Jeff Younis
Crowd: 14,267
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 24 Manly Sea Eagles 4 players of the match:
3 Points - Jarrod Mullen (1 Try)
2 Points - Trent Hodkinson (1 Try)
1 Point - Akuila Uate (3 Tries)

Tries: Jarrod Mullen, Junior Sau, Akuila Uate (3)
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (4/5)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (2/2)

Tries: Tony Williams, Ben Farrar, Trent Hodkinson
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (1/3) Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to Energy Australia Stadium for the final match of round 21, where the Newcastle Knights will be going head to head with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The Knights took out the NYC game 28 - 10
for the Knights, Tolar is out, Kaufusi to starts and Taufua to bench. Eagles are as per program.
1 min: And we are underway, Manly penalised in the opening set and Knights go on the charge
3 min: TRY
TRY to the Knights, Sau muscled over defenders on the western side of the ground. A strong attacking set in great field position gives Knights points early. Conversion from Kurt Gidley unsuccessful
Newcastle Knights 4-0
4 min: Kick out on the full from Williams, and Knights get another set in great field position. Manly still yet to touch the ball.
7 min: TRY
Another try to Newcastle, this one a beautiful take from Uate in the air, from a Jarrod Mullen precision kick to his wing on the Eastern side. Conversion from Gidley successful.
Newcastle Knights 10-0
9 min: Penalty to Newcastle late in the tackle count, Manly still yet to touch the ball, and more great field position for Newcastle.
11 min: Hodkinson gets Manly's first touch and a penalty to improve their position.
14 min: Lyon in space outside ball to Ben Farrar, this could be a try, going up to the video referee
15 min: TRY
Points to Manly. Great work from Trent Hodkinson to put Lyon into space, good ball work from Lyon gives Ben Farrar a four pointer close to the sideline. Conversion from Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
Newcastle Knights 10-4
16 min: Mat Ballin forward pass gives Newcastle the ball 15 metres out
17 min: A bit of biffo happening between Ben Cross and Josh Perry, and Ben Cross gets penalised for his antagonism
19 min: Another penalty to Newcastle, has them back on the offence
Video referee for a possible Newcastle try
21 min: TRY
Another try to the Knights. Uate from dummy half shimmies, burrows in deep and gets his second four pointer of the match, leading try scorer in the league this season. Conversion from Gidley, his easiest so far, and it's in.
Newcastle Knights 16-4
23 min: Almost a 40/20 fron Jarrod Mullen, but he stepped over the 40, so it's a Manly scrum
23 min: MacDougall strips the ball in a one on one strip on George Rose, but knocks it on to take the pressure off Manly who haven't seen much ball this match.
video referee for a possible Manly try
25 min: No try. A nice set play from Manly, beautiful kick from Foran but it comes to nothing as Tony Williams hit it forward before Lyon grounded it
26 min: Penalty for a strip on Tony Williams, to give Manly the ball in some good field position.
27 min: Another penalty off the back of the last one has Manly starting this set inside the Knights 20
29 min: Foran knocks on to put an end to the play
30 min: Knock on from Rodney gives Newcastle another set deep in Manly territory
penalty to Newcastle for hands in the play the ball. Newcastle putting more points on the board, Gidley's easiest goal of the night.
Newcastle Knights 18-4
32 min: Manly make a short kick off, get the ball back and a chance to try to bridge some of this point difference
33 min: A miraculous tackle by Sau on Vuna, gives Knights a goal line drop out and another chance to attack Manly's line
36 min: TRY
Gidley kicks for the corner, Uate races in from nowhere, and scores himself a hat-trick, pinching the ball from teammate MacDougall. Conversion from Gidley successful, absolute gold, right from the Eastern sideline, as the rain starts to pour
Newcastle Knights 24-4
38 min: Another short kick off from Manly and they pull it off again, giving themselves a great attacking opportunity before half time
40 min: And a very eventful half comes to an end with rains coming in and Knights leading Manly 24-4
41 min: Manly bringing the ball back under rainy skies to get the second half underway
43 min: Farrar makes a ripper of a tackle on Uate on the last play to give Manly the ball 5 short of halfway
44 min: Poor ball security by Cooper Vuna and Manly get a set deep in Newcastle territory, to put them right on the attack
45 min: Another error from Tony Williams sees Manly lose the ball on the Newcastle line and lose a great opportunity to hit back
46 min: Newcastle right on the attack now as a bomb from Gidley is dropped by Farrar
Newcastle go for the 2 after their 6th penalty of the night and the shot at goal successful from Kurt Gidley
Newcastle Knights 26-4
51 min: knock on by Shannon McDonnell, gives Manly a shot, but Newcastle looking the much better side at the moment. Attacking with intention and defending stoutly
53 min: Another dropped ball from Newcastle, this is where all Manly's chances have been coming from this half, conditions impacting on the play this half
55 min: TRY
Manly TRY to Tony Williams, Hodkinson delivers a pass practically off the ground to Lyon who puts Williams in to score. Unbelievable conversion from Jamie Lyon
Newcastle Knights 26-10
57 min: high one from Mullen, looked like a great chance for Newcastle, Farrar cannot take it, but a very fortunate bounce for Manly sees the ball go over the dead ball line to give Manly a 20 metre restart
60 min: Manly attacking a lot better now, they look to have some momentum behind them, are seeing more ball, doing a fair bit with it too now
62 min: Anthony Watmough drops the ball to halt Manly's momentum and he is filthy at himself
65 min: Manly lose their fullback, he looked like he was struggling a bit in the last few minutes, Manly have a bit of a backline reshuffle with Bailey coming on in the centres and Robertson looks to be moving to fullback
68 min: Manly have the football in good attacking position, but need to score soon to bridge this gap in time
video referee for a possible Manly try
69 min: TRY
Trent Hodkinson scores a terrific try for Manly, sold a brilliant dummy and gets over the line. The Manly number 7 having a great game. Conversion from 2 metres in from touch, a tough one and it misses
Newcastle Knights 26-14
71 min: Manly get a penalty for an obstruction, in great field position setting up for an exciting finish
73 min: Brent Kite drops the ball on the first tackle after a linedrop out
74 min: And Manly get the ball back to put them back on the attack with a Fa'aoso forward pass
75 min: TRY
TRY to Jarrod Mullen for Newcastle. Another error switches the attack, as Mullen pounces on a dropped ball, and runs 85 metres to finish the game off for the Knights. Kurt Gidley conversion successful
Newcastle Knights 32-14
76 min: And Manly pull off another short kick off, that's 3 from 3 tonight, not helping them on the scoreboard, but still an impressive feat
79 min: errors from both sides in these closing minutes, but Newcastle defending beautifully, Manly can't get any consolation at this stage
80 min: Fulltime and an impressive 32 - 14 victory to the Knights

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