Injuries strike as Manly down Newcastle
The Sea Eagles secured a 26-10 win over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium on Anzac Day but it came at the cost of injuries to Brett Stewart and Tom Trbojevic.
On a day where Daly Cherry-Evans made a successful return from his syndesmosis injury, Stewart failed to return after half-time with an apparent hamstring injury while Trbojevic left the field late in the second half with an ankle complaint.
The Knights didn't go without injuries either with Peter Mata'utia's return to the Hunter short-lived due to a knee injury. Jarrod Mullen meanwhile left the field with a hamstring injury after pulling up during a line-breaking run in the 66th minute.
Injuries aside, Manly's 16-point win was one where they played to the windy conditions perfectly. Brenton Lawrence's try in the 39th minute – at the end of a first half in which the Sea Eagles had been running into a strong breeze – put the visitors ahead 10-4 at half-time.
With the wind now on the Sea Eagles' side, winger Brayden Wiliame kept the good times coming for Manly in the 52nd minute when he scored his first try of the season out wide.
Minutes before his departure, Trbojevic continued the away team's roll-on in the 60th minute when he found space in between Mullen and Tyler Randell off a scrum play to score.
Luck would come Newcastle's way momentarily when a favourable bounce off the Knights' kick-off left Randell to pick up the scraps and cut the deficit back to 10.
Hodkinson's missed conversion however was his first as a Knight, ending his 17-goal streak.
But the Sea Eagles put the icing on the cake in the 78th minute when lock Jake Trbojevic received a Nate Myles offload before going over to score untouched.
While they hardly influenced the end result, Jamie Lyon's two penalty goals in the third and 21st minutes set the Sea Eagles up for success as they held a 4-0 lead for most of the first half.
While Steve Matai was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 16th minute, Newcastle wouldn't score until after Matai returned as Nathan Ross leapt high to claim a Mullen bomb. Losing and regathering the ball in the same motion, Ross crawled his way to the try-line to put his team ahead 6-4.
However Newcastle will be sure to rue three disallowed tries thanks to the influence of the bunker, with Ross, Akuila Uate and Tariq Sims all denied four-pointers in the first 50 minutes of the game.
Manly Sea Eagles 26 (Brenton Lawrence, Brayden Wiliame, Tom Trbojevic, Jake Trbojevic tries; Jamie Lyon 5 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 10 (Nathan Ross, Tyler Randell tries; Trent Hodkinson goal) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 19,072. Half-time: Sea Eagles 10-4. Injuries: Peter Mata'utia (Knights – knee); Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles – hamstring), Jarrod Mullen (Knights – hamstring); Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles – leg).