Knights smash Manly to keep finals hopes alive

THE Newcastle Knights kept their faint finals hopes alive with a stunning 32-6 upset of defending NRL premiers Manly at Hunter Stadium last night.

Wingers Aku Uate and James McManus scored two tries each and halfback Tyrone Roberts and centre Dane Gagai bagged one each as the Knights produced their most dominant display in what has until now been a disappointing first season under coach Wayne Bennett.

In one of the upsets of the season, Newcastle scored six tries to one against their long-time arch rivals, moving within one win of the top eight midway through the 19th round of matches.

For more pictures from the game, click on the image above.

Apart from scoring a try just before half-time, when he stepped through Manly's defence close to the line, Roberts kicked four goals from six attempts and threw the final pass for McManus's two tries in the 53rd and 72nd minutes.

The Knights led 10-0 at the break after tries by Uate in the sixth minute and Roberts in the 37th, and cleared out to a 22-0 lead midway through the second half, sparking a "New-cast-le" chant from the crowd of 20,154.

Apart from keeping themselves in touch with the top eight, the Knights regained the Malcolm Reilly Trophy, which is at stake in games between the Knights and Sea Eagles.

Reilly, the former Great Britain Test forward and coach, played in Manly's grand-final wininng teams in 1972 and 1973 and coached the Knights to victory over the Sea Eagles in the 1997 ARL grand final.

KNIGHTS 32 (J McManus 2, A Uate 2, T Roberts, D Gagai tries; T Roberts 4 goals) SEA EAGLES 6 (B Kite try; J Lyon goal) at Hunter Stadium.

Halftime Knights 10-0

Crowd 20,154

Referees Jason Robinson, Tony De Las Heras

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