Manly, Newcastle stay true to form - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly, Newcastle stay true to form

By Laine Clark 24/04/2005 07:55:38 PM Comments (0)

Two constants finally emerged in one of the most unpredictable NRL seasons after round seven - Manly keeps winning and Newcastle keeps losing.

Manly continued its remarkable turnaround by snatching the NRL's top spot outright for the first time since 1997 with its eighth straight victory at Brookvale Oval - a 48-14 thrashing of South Sydney.

Manly is now sitting pretty with a 5-1 record, grabbing outright honours ahead of North Queensland (5-2) after nearest rival Canberra (4-2) dropped its second straight match, 46-10 at home to Melbourne in yet another shock.

Indeed the round threw up several more surprises - North Queensland downed the Panthers at Penrith 36-22, an undermanned Brisbane jumped Cronulla 16-12 at Shark Park and Parramatta accounted for the ailing Wests Tigers 26-16.

But Newcastle remained the only winless team after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory - for the second straight week - in a 24-20 loss at home to the Bulldogs.

The Knights looked to have finally put their long-suffering fans out of their misery when winger Trent Salkeld appeared try-bound in the dying seconds, only to be taken out by two-try hero Luke Patten.

Despite his success, Manly coach Des Hasler refused to confirm his Eagles were "the real deal" in 2005.

"Being the real deal is just turning up each week. If you get up each week you are halfway there but it is early days for us," he said.

"We are quietly pleased with what we are doing. We know there is a lot of improvement in us - but this is a good position to be in."

But the difference between Manly and Newcastle can be summed up by one word according to Eagles veteran and ex-Test backrower Steve Menzies - confidence.

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