The NSW Cup Newcastle Knights enjoyed a dominating win over the Manly Sea Eagles with a second half storming for the home side resulting in a 48-14 victory.
A barrage of six tries in the second stanza of the game advanced the Knights to a comfortable lead.
NSW Cup Knights side was strengthened by the return of a number of players who returned to the lineup after featuring in the NRL Knights’ match against the Brisbane Broncos the previous week.
The Knights’ outside backs showed off their point scoring finesse with fullback Nathan Ross bagging an impressive hat trick and wingers Honeti Tuha and Kerrod Holland each achieving a brace.
It was also Damian Sironen’s first game in the red and blue playing off a four-man interchange after joining the Club at the start of the week from the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
NRL mainstay Jeremy Smith was also named on the Knights’ reserve grade bench and used the game as a chance to ease back into playing after recovering from a sternum injury.
The Knights opened the scoring early when Nathan Ross made a powering break down the left edge to ground the ball before Kerrod Holland nailed the kick from the sideline.
Minutes later, in almost identical field position, Lachlan Fitzgibbon barged over for the side’ second try. Holland again made no mistake with the kick setting the Knights up with an early 12-0 lead.
Back to back penalties 20 metres out gave Manly valuable possession as they ferociously attacked the Knights’ defence, but dominating pressure from the Knights forced a Manly error and diffused a dicey situation.
Yet the Knights didn’t make much progress themselves with an error seeing any potential fizzle.
After back to back sets in attack, it was Manly’s turn across the line with prop Siosaia Vave scoring for the opposition.
Manly failed to gather any momentum from the try dropping the ball from the kick off.
After a scrum 10 metres fullback Nathan Ross was over for his second try which he celebrated with a crowd-pleasing backflip.
After an arm wrestle in the middle third, Manly again challenged the red and blue’s defence. The side worked the ball out to the wing and found enough space for winger Ben Fritz to score.
The Knights went into the sheds for the half time break ahead 16-10.
The Knights have struggled in recent rounds with maintaining intensity in the second half, but Sunday afternoon was an entirely different story for the team.
The Knights cleaned up their penalties and showed more discipline in defending errors, which marked a turning point in the game.
Josh King was the first over in the second half with the NYC regular attracting attention in reserve grade before speedy winger Honeti Tuha crossed on the left edge.
Manly fired back when five-eighth Delroy Berryman bagged a try but goal kicker Kurt Aldridge was unable to convert the try seeing the score now at 26-14.
The Knights held a large chunk of possession at this point in the game and churned through their sets creating plenty of opportunities in attack.
With the Knights again back in their third, Carlos Tuimavave put in an accurate across field kick to Kerrod Holland on the wing to score.
After the impressive try assist, Tuimavave was the next to contribute points after stepping around Manly’ defenders to himself score.
Soon after Ross, who was bursting with energy in attack bagged a hat trick followed by a double by the team’s goal kicking winger Holland.
Tuha then stretched the Knights’ lead further after skillfully grounding the ball before it bounced out of touch rounding out the 48-14 score line.
Knights 48 (T: Ross 3, Fitzgibbon, King, Tuha 2, Holland 2, Tuimavave; G: Holland 4/10)
Manly 14 (T: Vave, Fritz, Berryman; G: Aldridge 1/3)