x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Manly finally hold on to a big lead

For the first time this season, the Manly Sea Eagles were able to hold on to a big half-time lead as they beat the Newcastle Knights 36-12 in the NRL.

Josh Perry of Manly takes on the Newcastle defence during their NRL match at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
Josh Perry of Manly takes on the Newcastle defence during their NRL match at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.

For the first time this season, the Manly Sea Eagles were able to hold on to a big half-time lead as they beat the Newcastle Knights 36-12 in the NRL yesterday. After having been beaten by the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels - despite having a 16-point lead at the break in both games - Des Hasler, their coach, was delighted to see his side show that they can finish teams off.

"It's not so much relief, [I'm] probably more pleased for the players," Hasler said. "I thought they showed a lot of character to come up with the win." Manly were leading 24-6 at the break and tightened their defence in the final 40 minutes in order to preserve their first win of the season. Steve Matai scored two of Manly's four first-half tries and Jamie Lyon finished the day with six conversions.

"We started well but came up against a Sea Eagles side which was more committed on the day," said Rick Stone, the Newcastle coach. The Melbourne Storm, the World Club champions, meanwhile, kept up their 100 per cent start to the season with a 16-10 win over the Penrith Panthers. The victory sets them up nicely for next Friday's game with the St George/Illawarra Dragons, who have also won their first three games.

"It will certainly be a tough ask, obviously the Dragons are going better than anyone at the moment," said Craig Bellamy, the Storm coach. "It will be a test for us without a doubt." Meanwhile in England today, St Helens visit Huddersfield, both on 10 points in the Super League, with the winners moving to within two points of the leaders, Wigan. The Warriors demolished Leeds, 24-4 on Friday night, and they face Saints next Friday.

However, Michael Maguire, the Wigan coach, said he had no interest in the standings. "There are a lot of teams sitting right below us - from what I have been told - and I am only focused on next week," he said. akunawicz@thenational.ae