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Manly down Knights amid injury carnage

Knights take AFL speccy try0:38

NRL: Nathan Ross took an AFL style mark before scoring for the Newcastle Knights against Manly

Steve Matai of the Sea Eagles in action.

MANLY lost Brett Stewart to injury and Newcastle’s Jarrod Mullen was another high profile casualty as the Sea Eagles won a war of attrition at Hunter Stadium.

Manly’s 26-10 win came at a cost with Stewart’s troublesome hamstring letting him down again while youngster Tom Trbojevic limped off the field in the second half.

But it was Mullen who could be facing the longest stint on the sideline.

He collapsed in a heap clutching at his hamstring after making a break 13 minutes from full-time with a possible try in the offering.

The five-eighth was in obvious distress as he was assisted from the field with the incident virtually snuffing out any possible hope of a late Knights revival.

Both sides finished the game with just 15 fit players after the Knights had lost new recruit Peter Mata’utia to a knee injury at the 27 minute mark.

Gagai's horror start0:44

NRL: Dane Gagai had a horror start in the first half of the Newcastle Knights clash against Manly

It left both sides with players playing out of position, a factor in the disappointing spectacle.

A positive for the Sea Eagles was the successful return from injury of key play-maker Daly Cherry-Evans, who returned a week ahead of schedule from a ankle injury.

A controversial Brenton Lawrence try right on half time gave the Eagles a 10-6 lead at the break despite running into a stiff breeze and losing centre Steve Matai to a 10 minute stint in the sin-bin for a professional foul in the opening 40.

The Knights were their own worst enemy, getting over the try-line twice but on both occasions, were denied by the bunker with wingers Nathan Ross and Akuila Uate ruled to have lost the ball in attempting to ground it.

The Sea Eagles rode their luck and led 4-0 midway through the half after two Jamie Lyon penalty goals.

It wasn’t until the 27th minute that the home side managed to get on the board and stick their nose in front.

And it came in spectacular fashion via Ross.

He chased through a Jarrod Mullen cross kick, produced an AFL-type leap and slammed the ball over the line after a mid-air juggle.

Trent Hodkinson converted to give the Knights a 6-4 lead.

Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen leaves the field with hamstring injury. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen leaves the field with hamstring injury. Picture. Phil HillyardSource:News Corp Australia

But right on halftime, after the Knights legged Manly up with a dropped ball and costly penalty, Lawrence reached through several defenders to put the ball over the line in dubious fashion.

The on-field ruling was a try and the bunker went with referee Gavin Badger.

The Knights’ try-scoring woes continued in the second half when they were denied a try 10 minutes after the re-start.

A Mullen kick finished up in the hands of Tariq Sims over the Manly line but hooker Danny Levi was ruled to have knocked the ball forward in the contest.

It was another costly miss.

Within 10 minutes the Sea Eagles opened up a 20-6 lead through tries to winger Brayden Wiliame and Tom Trbojevic.

But in one of the more remarkable tries of the season, Knights replacement Tyler Randell scored off the re-start from the Trbojevic try after Lyon batted back the ball to no-one to narrow the gap to 10 points.

MANLY 26 (B Lawrence T Trbojevic J Trbojevic B Wiliame tries J Lyon 5 goals) bt NEWCASTLE 10 (T Randell N Ross tries T Hodkinson goal) at Hunter Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 19,072.

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