NRL: Knights handed tough lesson - Bennett

Jorge Taufua of the Sea Eagles scores a try. Photo / Getty Images
Jorge Taufua of the Sea Eagles scores a try. Photo / Getty Images

Coach Wayne Bennett says Newcastle learned the hard way of the gulf that continues to exist between them and the NRL's top sides in their 32-0 thrashing at the hands of Manly at Brookvale Oval on Sunday night.

After a promising start to the season on the back of their round one hammering of Wests Tigers, the tables were comprehensively turned on the Knights in a six-tries-to-none shellacking, with Jorge Taufua scoring three tries for the Sea Eagles.

Manly's clinical disposal of the Knights built on their first-up win over Brisbane, while the Knights failed to show any of their impressive opening round form in what Bennett said was a tough lesson for his side.

"They have been one of the top five sides for the last five years and they know how to get the job done. We are just learning to get the job done," Bennett said.

"That's the difference. That's their pedigree."

However Bennett said the heavy loss didn't undo all their good work of the week before.

"We will just kiss this off and move on," he said.

"We just didn't hold our nerve. But we are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"We didn't get carried away after round one and we are not getting carried away now."

Taufua scored tries in the fourth, 60th and 79th minutes in a clinical exhibition from the 2011 premiers that showed they are again a force to be reckoned with in 2013.

Captain Jamie Lyon latched onto a Kieran Foran kick in the 15th minute for a four-pointer of his own, Anthony Watmough showed great pace to race 60m for a try just after halftime and Brett Stewart scored his requisite Brookvale Oval try in the 71st minute (his 67th in 70 games at the venue) in a miserable trip south for Newcastle.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he was happy with the consistency his side has shown over the first two rounds.

"Our players are playing well, there's still room for improvement," he said.

"It's a happy team at the moment and a happy club and we are trying to maintain that."

Manly centre Steve Matai left the field with a neck complaint in the 40th minute but Toovey said the club was hopeful it wasn't a long term injury.

Dane Gagai (ankle), who was also interchanged in the first half, was Newcastle's main injury worry.

- AAP

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