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Manly have been welcomed home in style, ending Newcastle's unbeaten start to 2011, with a 26-12 victory in front of 13,087 fans.
Sunday afternoon, Brookvale Oval and two teams in the Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles could it get much better? Nope it was an entertaining and asorbing contest with Manly running out winners but Newcastle kept fighting despite having a serious injury toll throughout the match.
Newcastle would land the first blow in this contest, from a good exchange of passes sending Zeb Taia over for the try, continuing on the form that saw them thrash both the Panthers and Cowboys in previous rounds. Naiqama converted to take maximum points from the try.
One punch isn't the fight though, Manly hit back after some ill disclipne that cost the Knights six points, thanks to David Williams chasing a grubber and beat McManus to plant the ball down. Daly Cherry-Evans was unable to convert, giving Newcastle a slim lead.
Manly would continue to punish Newcastle for their mistakes, especially when they can't bind properly at scrums or find touch. Manly went down their left, with a beautiful cut-out pass from Brett Stewart sending Michael Robertson over then compounded eight minutes later with William Hopoate somehow finding his way to the line. Daly Cherry-Evans would convert both tries to send us to oranges 16 points to 6.
The news didn't get any better during halftime or just after it for Newcastle with Shannon McDonnell not returning due to concussion and gun halfback Beau Henry inured his leg jumping for a ball. Manly added to their woes with another try just after the break, William Hopoate scoring his second, Cherry-Evans missing the conversion.
Newcastle would lose further troops to injury but held strong, repelling several attacking raids from Manly but couldn't find the tryline before it was too late for the comeback. Jarrod Mullen would dart down the shortside and find Zeb Taia to get the Knights over the tryline for a second time, making it 20-12 thanks to Naiqama's conversion.
There would be a final moment of magic in the game before the siren with Michael Oldfield kicking it downfield for his winger David Williams to score a brace and the conversion from Daly Cherry-Evans. This made the final scoreline 26 points to 12 and two more valuable points banked by the Sea Eagles.
Next week, Newcastle will finally head home to host the reigning premiers, St George Illawarra on Sunday afternoon, with injuries to Beau Henry, Shannon McDonnell, Ben Rogers and Zeb Taia. Manly will do the short drive up the highway to Gosford to face the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who are also coming off a win.
Manly Sea Eagles 26 defeated Newcastle Knights 12
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Sunday March 27, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and David Munro
Halftime: Manly Sea Eagles 16 Newcastle Knights 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to a cloudy Brookvale Oval, for Manly's first home game of the 2011 season. This afternoon, they take on the Newcastle Knights who have won both their games thus far in 2011 and Manly coming off their greatest victory in a while, against the Roosters. Setting up what will be an exciting contest.
Earlier in the Toyota Cup, Newcastle won a thriller 24 points to 20. Only one change for Manly, Michael Oldfield is in for Tony Williams due to an ankle injury. For Newcastle, Kurt Gidley has succumb to injury replaced by Shannon McDonnell.
1 min: Manly kicks off and we're underway here at Brookvale.
3 min: A willing start by both sides, getting to their kick.
6 min: First penalty of the game, goes to Newcastle, good chance to open the scoring.
Zeb Taia might have Newcastle's first try but checking the grounding.
10 min: TRY
It's given! Taia takes a pass, avoids a high tackle and scores the opening try. Naiqama converts with ease.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
11 min: Taia and Naiqama have been pinged for not moving quick enough. Can Manly even the ledger?
13 min: The crowd go up every time Brett Stewart touches the ball and nearly were at fever pitch when he got involved close to the line but David Williams drops it to kill that set.
19 min: TRY
Glenn Stewart has shown us a new trick in the book, grubbering through the line for David Williams to chase and he beats McManus to plant it down. Cherry Evans has the conversion attempt but it goes wide.
Newcastle Knights 6-4
21 min: Stupid penalty from Brett Stewart there, taking out Akuila Uate who was trying to take a Cherry-Evans bomb.
22 min: Pressure back onto Newcastle's defence after a drop ball, giving Manly a full set but they keep Manly out.
24 min: Dan Tolar straight onto the field, his first hit up and is hammered by Jason King, jolting the ball free.
29 min: TRY
Manly get some luck with a non call on a high tackle, taking advantage running the ball on last, with Foran offloading to Stewart who almost scores himself but gives a delightful ball off to Robertson to score. Cherry-Evans does better with his second conversion attempt and converts.
Manly Sea Eagles 10-6
Manly could have back to back tries, thanks to Daly Cherry-Evans checking if it's a knock on and it's given as a knock on.
32 min: Anthony Watmough comes charging in with a swinging arm and is penalised. They have conceded another right on top but Mullen fails to find touch!
36 min: It's warming up here, Brett Stewart and Junior Sau exchange words but Newcastle are losing their way here, dropping it on first and conceding a scrum penalty.
William Hopate might have pulled off the impossible here but going upstairs.
37 min: TRY
And he has! William Hopoate has somehow scored here despite the attention from three defenders. Cherry-Evans converts to extend Manly's lead.
Manly Sea Eagles 16-6
38 min: Oh no, Manly have mucked it up from the kick-off. Newcastle will have the final chance of the half.
40 min: Newcastle can't do anything with the gift from Watmough and we head to halftime, with Manly leading 16 points to 6.
41 min: Eagle Rock starts playing back at Brookvale signalling the return of both sides, firstly Manly who will want to continue the ways things are while Newcastle will have to match Manly to overturn the ten point deficet. Beau Henry gets us back underway.
42 min: Wes Naiqama has taken the fullback position due to Shannon McDonnell's injury, he doesn't know where he is at the moment. The news just gets worse for Newcastle, Beau Henry leaps high for a ball and lands, hurting his leg, being stretchered off.
42 min: From the restart, Dan Tolar finds a huge hole down the middle but mucks it up throwing it straight to Foran, who I think could of called for the ball. Newcastle are in dire straits here, down to fifteen players and concede a penalty due to a late hit on Glenn Stewart.
45 min: TRY
The defence from Newcastle can't hold under the pressure and William Hopoate has his second. Cherry-Evans has the chance to extend the lead but it's waved away.
Manly Sea Eagles 20-6
46 min: Dear, oh dear, Newcastle get pinged for not being behind the kicker but get left off due to a knock on from Foran.
47 min: A scrum penalty! The second one that has been called today, again for Newcastle not binding. Manly can't put the Knights to the sword though, dropping it while in attack.
48 min: Newcastle are down to fourteen fit players and can't afford things like this, after doing the good work, getting a penalty, it's thrown forward. Compounded with ANOTHER scrum penalty from Newcastle, will they ever learn?
51 min: It's become a war of attrition for Newcastle, they may have lost another player, with Richie Fa'aoso groggy but he's ok. After the scrum, that forard pass wasn't and Newcastle go have the ball back Manly, we don't want it.
53 min: High tackle penalty, Newcastle will get some breathing space away from their own line.
Video Referee has been called upon again, to check if Newcastle regathered and scored.
57 min: It's a no try, Newcastle player ruled to have touched the ball.
60 min: Kieran Foran can't do anything but chips one into the in-goal to get Manly a repeat set.
We'll go upstairs again, checking for obstruction.
62 min: It's called no try! William Hopoate has been deemed to obstruct a Newcastle player. Newcastle head downfield, thanks to a break from Houston but Manly cover well and force a Newcastle player over the sideline.
64 min: Manly have taken their foot off the pedal here, should be going for the throat while I say that Zeb Taia has started to limp noticeably.
66 min: Manly might have a try thanks to a chip kick but it looks to have gone out. A reprieve for the injury depleted Newcastle. Yes it's called no try.
67 min: Both sides aim up for each other but the referee has called play on. Michael Robertson streaking away but he's gathered in and thrown into touch by Jarrod Mullen.
69 min: Manly try one of the sweeping backline movements, with Brett Stewart but Akuila Uate is there and throws him over the sideline.
73 min: TRY
Newcastle score! Jarrod Mullen takes the line on himself, throws a cut-out pass to Zeb Taia who scores. All thanks to a penalty in possession from Glenn Stewart. Naiqama from close to the sideline converts, can Newcastle comeback? surely not!
Manly Sea Eagles 20-12
76 min: Four to go, Newcastle will need to score soon if they want to win this but not with Mullen losing the ball.
79 min: TRY
From the scrum, Manly go down the short side, Oldfield kicking ahead for his winger David Williams who it sits up for and scores right under the sticks. Cherry-Evans will have his final conversion for the afternoon and slots it for an extra two.
Manly Sea Eagles 26-12
80 min: Daly Cherry-Evans tries another chip kick but this time it doesn't come off and that is fulltime.