Sea Eagles smash woeful Knights
The Manly Sea Eagles are now just one win outside of the top eight following their 36-16 win over the luckless Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon.
Now sitting at 11th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, the Sea Eagles are two competition points outside of the top eight with a four-team logjam between seventh and 10th sitting just above them.
Newcastle's 20-point defeat was their 13th straight loss, equalling a club record that was racked up in the first half of the 2005 season.
Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic was the main man responsible for the Knights' woes, producing two try assists and six tackle breaks in what was Manly's fourth straight victory.
Trbojevic had the ball rolling for the Sea Eagles in the first four minutes when a cut-out ball saw winger Jorge Taufua post first points.
Trbojevic was at it again six minutes later when he shrugged off four would-be Knights defenders before passing on to centre Brayden Wiliame to score.
A deft pass from halfback Daly Cherry-Evans led to Jamie Buhrer strolling over the white stripe untouched in the 16th minute.
Newcastle's only chance in the first 40 came when Jeremy Smith was denied by the bunker in the 30th minute when the co-captain failed to ground a Danny Levi grubber kick.
Wiliame had his second when a Cherry-Evans grubber saw the centre cut back inside of Brendan Elliot and dive over in the 35th minute.
Manly posted a 26-0 half-time lead with two minutes to spare when prop Josh Starling was handed a pity try under the black dot by Cherry-Evans.
Sea Eagles playmaker Dylan Walker kicked off the second stanza for the Sea Eagles when he dove over from dummy-half in the 45th minute.
Two minutes later Matt Wright was over when handy lead-up work from Buhrer and Lewis Brown allowed the winger to cross in the corner.
Peter Mata'utia's try-scoring efforts earned the Knights some respite in the 57th minute, and the visitors were win again in the final three minutes of the game when David Bhana crossed for his maiden NRL try.
While the Knights won the second half 16-10 – with Elliot's try coming as the siren sounded – the damage had been well and truly done in the first 40.
Sea Eagles 36 (Brayden Wiliame 2, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Buhrer, Josh Starling, Dylan Walker, Matt Wright tries; Dylan Walker 4 goals) defeated Knights 16 (Peter Mata'utia, David Bhana, Brendan Elliot tries; Trent Hodkinson 2 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Crowd: 11,222. Half-time: Sea Eagles 26-0.