The Newcastle Knights were beaten 26-10 by the Manly Sea Eagles at Hunter Stadium on ANZAC Day.
With two late changes and playing in front of 19,072 Members and fans, the Knights had the upper hand for much of the first half. However, three disallowed tries and injuries to Jarrod Mullen and Peter Mata’utia saw traditional rivals Manly walk away with the Malcolm Reilly Shield.
The Knights were untidy in their early defence, conceding two penalties in their own half that resulted in Jamie Lyon kicking a penalty goal.
14 minutes in new recruit Peter Mata’utia gelled nicely with Nathan Ross as a clever flick pass saw the winger acrobatically ground the ball in the corner. Despite the live ruling being a try, the video bunker ruled that Ross had lost contact with the ball, keeping the Knights scoreless.
Minutes later two forwards combined as David Bhana put Korbin Sims through a hole to run 60 metres. Manly centre Steve Matai was sinbinned for a professional foul as Sims struggled to play the ball, and soon after Akuila Uate crossed over in the right corner.
The video bunker again denied the Knights due to a dropped ball, and five minutes later Manly's Lyon kicked another penalty goal for a foul ten metres out.
Peter Mata’utia was forced from the field with injury soon after, Tyler Randell coming off the bench to take his place at left centre.
Minutes later the Knights finally got their first points, Ross looking as though he had springs in his boots when he leapt high to collect a Mullen bomb and score.
30 seconds before the break controversy struck again as Manly were awarded a try by the video bunker, interchange forward Brenton Lawrence weaselling his way through the defence to get the ball onto the line.
Eight minutes into the second half it looked as though the Knights had struck back when Tariq Sims latched onto a kick between the uprights. The video bunker ruled that there had been a knock-on in the build up though, and the Knights found themselves denied for a third time.
Two minutes later Manly bounced back, Brayden Williame finishing off a backline move with a try in the corner. Lyon’s attempted conversion from the sideline sliced wide, but ten minutes later Tom Trbojevic added another four points when he ran through the defensive line.
The Knights needed to lift quickly and from the next kick-off they did just that, Tyler Randell racing 50 metres to grab onto a Manly batt back and score.
The going got tougher for the Knights in the 66th minute when Mullen made a break but pulled up clutching his hamstring. He was assisted from the field to a round of applause, but the Knights lost their attacking impetus in his absence.
With three minutes left on the clock Jake Trbojevic finished off the scoring, Lyon converting to make the final score 26-10.
Newcastle Knights 10 (T: Ross, Randell, G: Hodkinson 1/2)
Manly Sea Eagles 26 (T: Lawrence, Wiliame, T Trbojevic, J Trbojevic, G: Lyon 3/4) P: Lyon 2/2)