Sea Eagles and Knights can't be split in Mudgee try-fest

At the end of a 90-minute game which saw 12 tries scored, the Sea Eagles and Knights couldn't be split in a 32-32 draw in Mudgee on Saturday afternoon.

In what was the first drawn NRL match since Round 3 in 2020, the lead changed hands multiple times, with the Sea Eagles having appeared to have won the game after scoring three tries in the last 22 minutes, before Dom Young got over for his fourth try three minutes from time to force golden point. 

Both Daly Cherry-Evans and Jackson Hastings had wayward field goal attempts in golden point, but in the end a draw felt like the fitting result. 

Earlier the Sea Eagles got out to a 10-0 lead before the Knights, off the back of a 95 percent completion rate through the first 40 minutes, battled back to lead 22-16 at the break. 

After being dropped to reserve grade last week, and initially being left out of the squad for Round 5 before a late call-up, Young was exceptional, scoring four times and running for 227 metres.

On the other side of the park tireless Manly forward Jake Trbojevic played every minute in the middle, making 49 tackles including a couple of crucial interventions late in the game. 

Both sides emerged with injury concerns, with Ben Trbojevic injuring his hamstring and Tyson Gamble failing a HIA.

Match Snapshot 

  • Twelve tries were scored in the game, with Knights winger Dom Young accounting for a third of them on his own. 
  • Ben Trbojevic (hamstring) and Tyson Gamble (failed HIA) both failed to finish the match. 
  • The Knights completed 95 percent of their sets in the first half and the Sea Eagles weren't far behind on 82 percent.
  • Inside the first 40 minutes Haumole Olakau'atu was binned for a professional foul, before Lachlan Fitzgibbon also went for 10 after a high shot. 
  • A 45-metre solo effort from Olakau'atu opened the scoring, before Christian Tuipulotu added a second within the first 10 minutes.
  • With Olakau'atu in the bin, the Knights scored twice in the space of six minutes six minutes thanks a Greg Marzhew effort out wide and a spirited carry from Jack Johns that finished under the posts. 
  • Fitzgibbon was then binned for high contact, and after the Sea Eagles had a try claim ruled out for double movement, the Knights went down the other end and scored what would be the first of four for Dom Young.
  • A converted try to Brad Parker tied scores, before Jackson Hastings found Young to give Newcastle the lead once again. 
  • The second half saw a break in the scoring before Young grabbed his third 25 minutes from time after starting a long-range break on his own goal-line and then finishing it after some nice mid-field passing.
  • Kelma Tuilagi put Manly back in the contest with a try 22 minutes from time, before dynamic interchange player Kaeo Weekes got over from close range.
  • Just as it looked over, Young rose high to claim the ball on what could have been the Knights' last kick of the game to score a try and even scores, but Lachlan Miller pushed his conversion wide and confirmed golden point.  
  • After Hastings and Cherry-Evans both missed chances to nail the winning field goal, the match ended 32-32. 
  • Knights centre Dane Gagai made his 250th NRL appearance in the game. 

Play of the Game 
A leaping effort to claim the ball which in the end secured a valuable competition point for the Knights, and for Young capped off a brilliant game. The Englishman had a double each side of half-time and 227 run metres. 




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What they Said
"If there's a team you don't want to drag into a try-scoring contest or a golden point it'd be [the Sea Eagles]. I am disappointed, but as I said to the team, at 10-0 down had you said 'we are going to walk away with 32-all and you're going to get Cherry-Evans to pull out three times from going for a field goal', meaning you're going to have someone there pressuring them, I'd take that. We didn't have that last year." – Knights coach Adam O'Brien. 

"Probably lucky to get a point in the end. We had to fight our way back into the game after a pretty poor first half. The most disappointing thing was we got ourselves back in front with a couple of minutes to go and we give away a penalty in possession. There was a whole heap of little things that we were a little bit off with, and conceding that many points, it's a bit of a hollow feeling even though we got a draw." – Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold.

What's Next
Manly will hope to have five-eighth Josh Schuster (quad) available again for the trip to face the in-form Panthers, while the Knights play host to the Warriors, who they lost to in Round 1, at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Utility forward Kurt Mann is set to be available after missing Round 5 due to a head knock. 




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Corey Rosser, NRL Reporter