Coming off such a high following their comprehensive Rd 1 win against the Tigers, the Knights were hopeful they could continue their good start to the season but it was not to be, as they were trounced by a clinical Manly side, losing 32-0 at Brookvale Oval.
It was a dogged affair in the first half, as Manly fought their way to a 10-0 lead before breaking open the shackles in the second half and scoring 22 unanswered points, as the Knights were held scoreless in an NRL game for the first time since the 2009 season.
Despite the win, though, Manly coach Geoff Toovey still expects improvement and thought his side’s defence was good but that their execution in attack could still do with some work.
“I think at the end our defence was pretty good but I thought we were a bit sloppy with our execution at times,” said Toovey.
“So there’s definitely some improvement there and I think they were probably rocked by the loss of one of their outside backs early on, so that’s always difficult to overcome.
Manly co-captain Jamie Lyon echoed his coaches thoughts, admitting that it was a scrappy game and some dropped balls and lack of execution are areas his side needs to improve on.
“Like Tooves [Geoff Toovey] said, it was a bit of a scrappy game and we dropped a few balls early on and I suppose it probably wasn’t the best game to watch early,” said Lyon.
“In saying that, I thought our D was pretty strong – keeping them to zero was a big effort, I thought.”
For the Knights, it was simply a matter of dropping the ball at crucial times and some poor decision making that cost them, as coach Wayne Bennett was critical of his side’s overall performance.
“Your biggest fear as Knights coach is which team gets off the bus,” said Bennett.
“So, whatever mistake we could make out there tonight, we found a way to make it.”
“They just wanted it more than we did and we didn’t come here ready to play tonight.”
Knights captain Kurt Gidley was also disappointed with how his side performed but thought that at half-time, they were a chance.
“Yeah, we didn’t help ourselves but I thought 10-0 down at half-time, they had a bit of wind,” said Gidley.
“I still felt pretty positive about the second half and they were on the front foot from the start, really.”
“They seemed to be coming through us easier than we were going through them – they were getting blokes through the tackle and we were getting blokes picked up and driven back.
The loss was compounded by news of an ankle injury to in-form centre Dane Gagai.
3. Anthony Watmough
2. Jorge Taufua
1. Richie Fa’aoso