Manly deliver Knights fifth straight loss
MANLY have plunged Newcastle's season into further despair, handing the Knights a fifth straight loss courtesy yesterday in a 30-6 romp at Lottoland.
Desperately needing a win to keep pace with the top eight, Newcastle face an uphill battle to reach their first finals series in six years.
Not without their chances on Saturday, the Knights spent 59 per cent of the match in the attacking end of the field but had just one Kalyn Ponga try to show for it.
They have now won just one of their past seven, and sit two points out of the top eight after being fourth at the halfway point of the season.
The win puts Manly on 26 points and they are still in the hunt for a top-four finish and now almost certain to return to finals football.
Daly Cherry-Evans was again a dominant force for the Sea Eagles, setting up two tries. Veteran backrowers Joel Thompson and Curtis Sironen scored one each for Manly.
Cherry-Evans and Sironen combined for Manly's first in the 12th minute when the Sea Eagles halfback took the ball to the line and put the forward through on the right edge.
The Manly halfback then extended the lead to eight when he kicked brilliantly for winger Reuben Garrick, who took the ball on the bounce and got it down just inside the sideline.
In comparison, Thompson's sixth try of the year after the break looked far too easy and spelled trouble for Newcastle's defence.
He pushed his way through two Knights and past another from 20m out, breaking the game open after Ponga had crossed before half-time.
Three more tries then followed to Martin Taupau, Jorge Taufua and Garrick, as Newcastle's defence faltered and Manly took control.
Taupau's four-pointer was arguably the best of the day, with Manase Fainu, Cherry-Evans and Dylan Walker all combining through the middle to put him over.
In contrast Newcastle's attack lagged as they struggled with their last-tackle options and failed to make the most of their opportunities.