14.6 C

Manly’s late surge downs Newcastle in NRL


The fresh legs of Karl Lawton have given Manly the try to finally subdue a courageous Newcastle 30-6 in drenching conditions at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Second-rower Lawton became the unlikely hero on Thursday night, coming off the bench with the game in the balance at 12-6 just 11 minutes from fulltime.

He scored a try, barging over under the posts and then set another up for Taniela Paseka to give Manly a glowing five tries-to-one win which propels them from 10th to fifth.

“He’s really adapted his game and is a handy utility, a great No.14,” coach Des Hasler said of Lawton, the 26-year-old who is at his third club since making his debut in 2016.

“When he comes on, he really gives the team a lift and is doing a really good job.”

Other unsung heroes included winger Reuben Garrick, who became third choice No.1 after Tom Trbojevic hurt his knee and replacement Tolutau Koula also got injured.

“Reubs played really well, carried the ball strongly and he’ll only get better over the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve all got a lot of belief in Reubs because he does a fantastic job when Tom is out,” said Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

The Knights, in their second home game in five rounds, had some rotten luck with two tries disallowed and injuries aplenty.

Halfback Adam Clune has a deep cork to his left knee, winger Dominic Young will undergo scans for a right knee strain, and prop Jirah Momisea dislocated his elbow.

Fullback and captain Kalyn Ponga also had to leave he field for a concussion test but was able to return after halftime.

“We fought hard to get back into the game in the second period but then undid everything with some ill-discipline,” coach Adam O’Brien.

“So, I won’t and the guys won’t be giving the excuse of personnel and injuries.

“There’s some stuff we clearly need to get better and Manly gave us some lessons on how to manufacture tries in the wet.”

On a wet and windy night in Newcastle, Cherry-Evans picked up from where he left off on a dry track at Mudgee. 

After booting 21 kicks (651 metres) in the Sea Eagles’ win over the Raiders last week, he had 22 for 681 metres and set up Morgan Harper’s try with a perfectly weighted corner kick.

Along with Dylan Walker putting Andrew Davey through a small gap near the line, it enabled the visitors to lead 10-0 at the break.

In the second half, things brightened a little for the Knights, Ponga scoring their first try after nice lead-up work from left centre Bradman Best and wingman Enari Tuala in his 50th NRL game.

But, the three quickfire tries by the Sea Eagles in the dying stages did the damage.

Manly will now hold the Malcolm Reilly Trophy – taking it off the Knights who had won the three previous meetings between the two clubs.

The trophy started in 2007 and is named after the Knights’ first premiership-winning coach in 1997, who also played four seasons at Manly including winning the 1973 grand final.

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