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As far as rivalries go for the Newcastle Knights, they don’t come much bigger than a clash against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

The Knights versus the Sea Eagles is a long-running match-up dating to the early 90s and always throws up big games, no matter the grade.

This was exactly the same when the Knights’ juniors lined up against Manly at Cessnock Sports Ground on Saturday.

The Club's Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides have had indifferent starts to the 2014 season, but both teams impressed in victories over the Sea Eagles. 

Inspired by a spirited defensive display, SG Ball recorded a tense 21-14 win - a performance described by coach Trevor Ott as a hard fought effort given the wet weather.

"It was definitely good to get a win to boost team spirits," Ott says.

"But it was a bit of a scrappy affair to be honest with you because of the conditions.

"We’ve struggled a bit with ball control in our first three games, but there were some good bits of footy played.

"The boys defended really well though.

"In the first half we only had the one try scored against us and they didn’t breech our line once in the first half.

"So I was happy with that, especially at the backend of the game when they (Manly) were coming home.

"There’s no doubting our defence won us the game."

Ott was also impressed with a number of individuals, who stood up at crucial moments against the Sea Eagles.

He says fullback Jack Mackin, halfback Jack Cogger and lock Faitotoa Faitotoa were all standouts in the win. 

"Jack Mackin went well at fullback, while Jack Cogger scored a fine try from halfback and had a strong kicking game," he says. 

"Our lock Faitotoa Faitotoa was also great. 

"He is on a scholarship from Ipswich in Queensland and he comes down and trains with us on a Friday, plays Saturday and goes back home again.

"He got man-of-the-match in a fine performance by him." 

In the other match, the Harold Matthews charged to a comfortable 26-12 win over Manly. 

Brodie Jones led the way for the Knights with two tries, while Matt Cooper, Heath Gibbs also crossed the line in an impressive all-round team effort.

Newcastle takes on St George in round 4 action this Saturday. The Harold Matthews kicks-off at 10am, while the SG Ball commences at 12 midday.