A sodden Brookvale was the scene for a nervous Sea Eagles win tonight, with the competition's surprise packet holding out likely wooden spooners Newcastle 18-14 in front of a small but passionate crowd on the Northern beaches tonight.
Manly came into this one expecting a comfortable win, but the Knights had other ideas with a 15th minute 40/20 to Brock Lamb backed up by an 18th minute penalty goal putting the visiting side ahead 2-0 early.
The hosts hit straight back when Akuila Uate bagged the Sea Eagles' first of the night just a couple of minutes later.
Manly looked in control for a while until the halftime break loomed, but Newcastle had other ideas. Jaelen Feeney crossed under the sticks just four minutes before the siren, and after the Lamb conversion it was an 8-6 Knights lead at the break as the rain continued to fall.
Curtis Sironen put the home team back ahead 12-8 ten minutes after the resumption of play. Uate looked to have extended Manly's lead five minutes later before being denied by the Bunker for obstructing a defender, before being rewarded (somewhat controversially) on the hour mark. 'Aku' appeared to have dropped the ball but there was no referral and the Eagles extended a four-point lead into a ten point one, effectively putting the result out of Newcastle's reach.
Try as they might, Newcastle only recorded another try in the 75th minute and Manly were able to hold out a late Knights' flurry in the wet to record an 18-14 win.
Manly will enjoy the bye next week before travelling to the Shire to contest the Steve Rogers Cup against premiers Cronulla in Round 16. Newcastle also have a Round 15 bye and are off to Kogarah the following week to host the high-flying Dragons.