Manly maul Knights, key players injured
Manly coach Geoff Toovey again faces an impatient wait to determine the fitness of several key players after Sunday’s impressive 42-20 win over Newcastle.
The Sea Eagles totally dominated the first half of the game to lead 38-4 at Brookvale Oval, before a raft of injuries stalled their momentum in the second stanza.
Manly, who have battled with injuries through most of the season, were forced to play almost the entire second half with no interchange bench after Jason King (shoulder), Matt Ballin (calf), Jamie Buhrer (concussion) and David Williams (leg) were all forced off.
“It was a bit like the old days, once you come off you are off,” Toovey said after his team’s fourth successive win.
“We ran out of troops there … so I was very proud of the last probably 30 minutes we played with no reserves.
“It was difficult and a lot of players had to play out of their positions, which made it hard for them but they showed a lot of character and we got there.”
Toovey said he didn’t know the full extent of the injuries and that they would be assessed by club medical staff on Monday.
“I was very pleased with the way our players just hung in there, that’s all they could do. I thought our first half was excellent when we had our full complement on board.
“They were really professional and really precise in what we did. But when we ran out of troops it made it very difficult.
“We lost both dummy halves and had to reshuffle the whole side.”
From the moment Knights halfback Tyrone Roberts put the ball out on the full from the kick-off the visitors were on the back foot.
Manly led 12-0 after just seven minutes on the back of tries to Jamie Lyon and Glenn Stewart, before Akuila Uate answered back for the Knights in the 13th minute.
But from there it was all Manly as they piled on five more first-half tries, including two to Tony Williams and two to Brett Stewart, to establish a 34-point halftime lead.
Kevin Naiqama scored tries in the 51st and 63rd minutes, and Jarrod Mullen crossed in the 54th minute as the Knights launched a fightback to trail 38-20 with 17 minutes remaining.
Jorge Tafua managed a late four-pointer to take the margin out to 22 points.
Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett conceded his side were out of the finals race, and bemoaned another slow start from his charges.
“Probably topped them all off,” Bennett said.
“Today was just a multiple of mistakes wasn’t it.
“It was self inflicted, kicking the ball out on the full, getting caught in-goal, giving away penalties, giving away tries.
“It could have been 70 points.”
Toovey also faces concern over Tony Williams, who was placed on report for a possible trip in the 66th minute.
Knights Kade Snowden, Darius Boyd and Chris Houston were involved in a lifting tackle soon after that was also placed on report.© AAP 2013
Sport, all day long. Does this sound too good to be true? We're searching for a Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. If you're a sales star who doesn't mind a hit, kick, throw, or cycle, we want to hear from you. Apply now.