A luckless Newcastle Knights side lost 30-10 to the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Knights made several changes before kick-off with Jarrod Mullen and Jack Stockwell ruled out through injury and illness respectively, giving Joseph Tapine a place on the bench. Kurt Gidley shifted to five-eighth while Dane Gagai played at fullback and Sione Mata'utia shifted to the centres.
Starting hooker Tyler Randell left his markers for dead in the third minute, racing 30 metres upfield before being ankle-tapped by Brett Stewart.
Jake Trjbojevic did something similar for Manly when he pried his way through the middle two minutes later, but Dane Gagai intervened from fullback to stop a certain try.
The returning Beau Scott secured his side a penalty 20 metres out in the next set, but despite several clever plays the Knights were unable to score.
They were made to pay in the 18th minute when Kade Snowden dropped the ball on the halfway line and Jorge Taufau finished off a play that went from one sideline to the other. Jamie Lyon converted for Manly, pushing the score to 6-0.
The home side scored on the left edge again three minutes later, Peta Hiku placing a grubber that evaded Akuila Uate and gave fullback Stewart an easy try. Lyon again converted to give his side a 12-0 lead.
James McManus nearly got one back for the Knights in their next set, breaking down the left side and planting the ball in the corner, but the video referee ruled that he had been dragged into touch as he grounded the ball.
With seven minutes to play in the first half Taufau almost grabbed his second, but Uate stood tall and forced him out into touch.
The Knights rolled up the field from the restart, and with two offloads in quick succession Gagai crossed over. But again the video referee denied the men in red and blue, this time ruling a knock-on.
On the back of a fumble from the usually safe McManus Manly grabbed their third, Daly Cherry-Evans giving Ligi Sao a neat pass for the big forward to cross over. Lyon again converted, pushing the score to 18-0 when the half-time siren sounded.
The Knights started the second half with Tyrone Roberts' kicking game ensuring the team plenty of territory.
Seven minutes in Chris Houston held Cherry-Evans up in goal and from the repeat set McManus finally got his try, ducking under a David Williams challenge to score. Roberts conversion just edged wide, leaving the score at 18-4.
The Knights looked like scoring again seven minutes later when Manly turned the ball over forty metres out from their own line, but a wayward pass from Sione Mata'utia at centre let the home side off the hook.
Stewart scored his second in the next set with Cherry-Evans to thank for a 40-20 that gave the Sea Eagles their first foray into Knights' territory for almost 20 minutes. Lyon again converted to make the score 24-4 with twenty minutes to play.
A dropped ball 40 metres out from Leilua gave Manly another chance two minutes later, but with Cherry-Evans bearing down on the tryline with plenty of supporting runners, McManus came out of nowhere to intercept a pass and keep the Knights in the game.
With fifteen minutes to play the Knights looked to have scored their second with Gidley burrowing over next to the uprights, but the video referee again ruled no-try with a perceived knock-on in the build up play.
Again Manly went straight up the other end to score, this time via Cherry-Evans. Lyon made it five from five kicks to boost the lead to 30-4.
The Knights refused to give up though and with some help from Gidley, Tariq Sims barged over for his first try for the Knights. Roberts' conversion was successful to make the score 30-10 with six minutes left on the clock.
The Knights continued to push for more points, but the final score remained 30-10.
Newcastle Knights 10 (T: McManus, T Sims; G: Roberts 1/2)
Manly Sea Eagles 30 (T: Taufua, Sao, Stewart 2; Cherry-Evans G: Lyon 5/5)