Pearce earns Newcastle golden-point victory over Manly

Mitchell Pearce kicked a golden point drop-goal to seal a 19-18 victory for Newcastle Knights over Manly Sea Eagles.

The Knights started brightly with new-boy Kayln Ponga scoring with his second touch when he broke through the Sea Eagles line.

Manly then replied when Jorge Taufua scored on his first NRL appearance since June 2017 due to an ACL injury.

Newcastle regained the lead again through former-Melbourne hooker Slade Griffin who hit and spin from dummy half.

Manly weren’t to be kept down and levelled the game up at half-time when Shaun Lane, standing at 198cm, stretched out to score.

The Sea Eagles took a four-point lead after the break when Brian Kelly scored after a shift to the left.

Their lead wasn’t to last long as Lachlan Fitzgibbon received a great pass from Connor Watson to score easily and give the Knights an 18-16 lead.

Manly sent the game to golden point when Daly Cherry-Evans struck a 35-metre penalty after the Knights were caught offside from a kick.

Two drop-goal attempts were missed in the first half of extra-time, one for Cherry-Evans and one for Pearce.

After Akuila Uate dropped a Pearce bomb in the second-half, Newcastle finally wrapped up the game when Pearce slotted over the winning drop-goal.

Knights: Ponga, Kenny-Dowall, Mata’utia, Moga, Ross, Watson, Pearce, Ese’ese, Griffin, Lillyman, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Barnett; Interchanges: Lamb, Heighington, Buhrer, Saifiti

Tries: Ponga, Griffin, Fitzgibbon; Goals: Ponga 3; Drop-Goals: Pearce

Sea Eagles: T Trbojevic, Taufua, Wright, Kelly, Uate. Crocker, Cherry-Evans, Fonua-Blake, Koroisau, Taupau, Thompson, Sironen, J Trbojevic; Interchanges: Brown, Lane, Winterstein, Tanginoa

Tries: Taufau, Lane, Kelly; Goals: Cherry-Evans 3

Full reports on all the NRL games from the opening weekend will be in Monday’s League Express