LNR 2021: Knights v Sea Eagles round 12, Newcastle v Manly
It was a ‘heartbreaking’ win to say the least for Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien with star striker Tyson Frizell sacked from Origin after limping with an injury late in Sunday’s 18-10 triumph against Manly.
Considered a near-certainty before the Blues were nominated on Sunday night, Frizell had no chance of getting fit for the June 9 series opener after limping four minutes full time when his ankle was caught under him during a tackle.
The match review committee will also look into an incident involving Frizell on Monday in which he caught Martin Taupau with a high shot midway through the second half.
“He’s obviously with physiotherapists right now; four minutes to go it’s a little heartbreaking to see him roll that ankle,” O’Brien said immediately after the game.
David Klemmer was also sentenced and put on the report in the dying seconds, but discipline at stake was a much bigger issue for the Sea Eagles, with two sin-bins and five reports in the game.
Five-eighth substitute Tevita Funa will nervously wait for the charge sheet after coming up twice on the report for a high shot and a crusher while Sean Keppie was also placed on the report for a dangerous tackle, Lachlan Croker for a Crusher and Taupau a high tackle.
Keppie and Taupau both spent 10 minutes off the field for their challenges.
Both teams lost a five-eighth ahead of the game with Manly’s Josh Schuster and Newcastle’s Kurt Mann both ruled out with minor injuries, bringing Funa into Manly’s starting camp and forcing Connor Watson to move from the pack to the halves for the Knights.
Match Highlights: Knights v Sea Eagles
Newcastle’s victory was built on guts with a few big names missing; their three maligned fullbacks had a much improved effort with Tex Hoy very cautious at the back and Starford To’a having one of their best games on the wing and youngster Phoenix Crossland had a good game in the halves.
O’Brien was pleased with the courage shown and hopes this will become more of a feature for the team in the future.
“There was a lot to like about it – some things we want to improve, but the courage, where we returned the ball, the young Phoenix kicked off so well for us,” O said. Brien.
“We didn’t put the pressure on ourselves. At the start of the game we were a little impatient in good ball, I think we weren’t in four sets at the start but I thought other than that we had started well, at least we were returning the ball to their end.
“There were individuals and young men who really resisted. Inexperience in terms of the number of games but they showed a lot of character and worked really hard tonight so I’m really proud of them.”
Incoming half-back Jake Clifford could play as early as next week according to O’Brien.
“It would be a chance he is there with his teammates now,” said O’Brien.
“A remarkable job what he’s been through, it would have been emotional for him, he played really well for the Cowboys, I thought and he left on the right note. He’s there to get to know his teammates, we have a few sessions. week and see how we go from there. “
For Manly, Trbojevic’s third brother Ben didn’t make his dream debut after being kept on the bench the entire time except the final 90 seconds as Des Hasler couldn’t get him to participate.
He then caught a high shot from David Klemmer on the penultimate play of the game and was taken straight from the field. Klemmer was placed on the report and sent to the trash.
Until their two tries at the end of the first half, the Knights had been the better team everywhere except on the scoreboard.
Knights make the most of the extra man
They held 58 percent of the ball in the first half, put a lot of pressure against the Sea Eagles ‘try line and spent most of their time in their opponents’ half but committed multiple errors on the attack to destroy their good work.
Manly scored twice against the run of the game with Brad Parker crossing before noted speedster Jason Saab running 80m after picking up a loose ball for the second.
Funa was fortunate not to be fished in the 30th minute for a tall order on To’a as he jumped for a ball, but found himself both for that tackle and for a tackle later in the half. on the same player.
Between those incidents, Sean Keppie was sentenced for a late, high tackle on Crossland after kicking, allowing To’a to cross against a 12-man line in the right corner.
It turned into two tries against a reduced squad on the stroke of halftime when a smart flat pass to Connor Watson’s line sent Sauaso Sue up to a 12-10 lead at the break.
The Knights continued to have the best position on the pitch in the second half, but weren’t able to make it count.
As the aimless minutes passed, the tension mounted; Taupau was sentenced in the 59th minute, but Manly was able to sail for those 10 minutes without damage.
Daniel Saifiti locks victory for Newcastle
The Knights lost Hoy to an HIA for the final 10 minutes, forcing Watson to the back and then Fitzgibbon to an HIA three minutes later.
The Sea Eagles had surgery on the bench for the second half since Zac Saddler’s header hit and a possible facial fracture just after half-time.
The game started to open late with Manly taking several breaks and half-breaks, but the Knights held onto their two-point lead until original pillar Daniel Saifiti crashed under the posts for seal the victory with less than two minutes from the end.
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