For the second straight week the Knights claim a dramatic late win, this time over Canberra, and Manly embarrasses Parramatta in a Brookvale bloodbath.
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Knights leave it late again in win over Raiders
Newcastle remains undefeated in the NRL after a second heart-stopping win in as many weeks, edging past Canberra 30-28.
After leading the way in a golden-point victory over Manly in round one, star recruits Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga were the catalysts yet again.
The former Sydney Roosters ace dished off the winning try to Sione Mata’utia in the 73rd minute to break Raiders’ hearts yet again.
It was the second straight week Canberra had lost 30-28 after going down to Gold Coast in round one.
Canberra had its chances in the dying minutes, mounting a fierce final attack but the Knights’ defence held out.
Aidan Guerra, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Tautau Moga and Connor Watson joined Mata’utia in scoring a try each for the victorious Knights.
Elliott Whitehead scored a pair of tries as he was named the Raiders’ player of the match.
Both sides took a hit to their playing stocks in the first half, with Mitchell Barnett failing a head injury assessment following a collision with Canberra forward Shannon Boyd.
The Raiders’ Joseph Leilua also found himself out of the game after being taken off on a stretcher with an ankle injury.
Ponga had another electric outing in Knights colours, creating chances to worry the Raiders’ defence and being deadly accurate with the boot to justify his lofty price tag.
Manly destroys Parramatta in Brookvale bloodbath
A white-hot Manly has announced itself as a premiership force this season with a historic 54-0 thrashing of a poor Parramatta outfit at Brookvale Oval.
As temperatures soared close to 40 degrees on Sunday, the Eels got burnt in what was their biggest ever loss to the Sea Eagles.
The nine-try romp also marked the fifth biggest win in Sea Eagles history, as well as the Eels’ largest defeat in the Brad Arthur era.
Arthur admitted fans had every right to criticise their performance as soft.
“That’s fair. We can only go on the actions and the evidence, the evidence wasn’t great. We were blown off the park. It’s like we weren’t playing the same game,” Arthur said.
“We were very embarrassed by that performance.”
Compounding the loss was a heavy concussion to hooker Cameron King, who was stretchered from the field after copping a knee to the head from Shaun Lane in the first half.
Tepai Moeroa and Brad Takairangi also picked up head knocks in the second half, while Mitchell Moses was sin-binned for the second week in a row.
But the home side went on to heap further misery on a stunned Eels outfit, with Curtis Sironen and Lloyd Perrett crossing for soft tries through the middle.
Daly Cherry-Evans rubbed salt into the wounds by sealing their first win of the season with a 68th minute penalty goal that brought up the half-century.
His only flaw was a missed conversion of Jorge Taufua’s 79th minute try from the sideline, finishing with a personal tally of 22-points.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said he was particularly pleased with his team’s defence.
“I was confident we’d play well today but I certainly didn’t expect the scoreline that it finished up. I’m just more pleased that we could hold them to zero,” Barrett said.
“We had to be disciplined there at the back end. It would’ve been easy to put the cue in the rack, particularly how hot it was.
“But that’s what I was most proud of, that we could stick to our guns and be disciplined with and without the ball, and come away with a really good win. Gives a lot of confidence.”
The Eels completed the first set of the match but it was all downhill from there, failing to get through a play-the-ball for the next 15 minutes.
And it was Cherry-Evans that almost single-handedly put the Eels to the sword in a 25-minute burst, beginning with his individual effort in the fifth minute.
He then nailed a 40-20 that led to Api Koroisau’s try from dummy half, forced a line drop out that resulted in Addin Fonua-Blake’s try and assisted on Curtis Sironen’s try soon after that.