Sea Eagles cement top-four spot 19 June 2005 Manly hammered another nail in the Newcastle coffin with a comprehensive 48-26 victory in a NRL mismatch at Brookvale Oval. The Sea Eagles unleashed a five-try blitz in the opening 18 minutes of the second half to blow away the Knights after trailing 10-8 at the break. Manly's 11th straight win at "Fortress Brookvale" consigned Newcastle to its 13th successive loss of the season. Only four other teams in the 98 years of premiership football have suffered worse starts to a season and the hapless Knights remain on course to become the first side since the Roosters in 1966 to complete an entire campaign winless. The only positive to emerge from the Newcastle camp was news that superstar captain and halfback Andrew Johns had been cleared of serious neck injury and should be available to tackle Penrith next Saturday night. The Knights desperately need their brilliant playmaker after conceding a total of nine tries against the Sea Eagles in yet another heavy defeat. Halfback and captain Michael Monaghan, centre Terry Hill and winger Scott Donald all grabbed tryscoring doubles, with fullback Brett Stewart, winger Chris Hicks and powerhouse lock Ben Kennedy also crossing for Manly. Fleet-footed fullback Milton Thaiday scored twice for Newcastle in his best performance since signing with the Knights almost two months ago, while wingers Anthony Quinn and Trent Salkeld and interchange forward Brendan Worth also got tries for the losing team. "We had a real bad period after halftime and that two-point lead seemed to vanish in the space of five minutes and they got away from us, which is disappointing," lamented Newcastle coach Michael Hagan. "We've got a lot of artillery missing at the moment, which is well-documented ... inexperience and a lack of understanding killed us in that period. "But there was no denying the effort." Manly coach Des Hasler wasn't overly pleased about his team leaking 26 points against the worst team in the premiership but was nevertheless relieved to have picked up two priceless competition points after last week's shock loss to South Sydney. "A win's a win," Hasler said. "We just had to get through this weekend. It keeps us up there and keeps the momentum going. "It's probably fair to say that first 20 minutes of the second half was the best footy of the day." Skipper Monaghan, who along with Kennedy and Stewart were the standouts for the Sea Eagles, said the side owed its fans a day out after the 44-6 thrashing at the hands of the Rabbitohs. "We really let ourselves down last week and we were out to make amends," Monaghan said. "With no disrespect to the Knights, we shouldn't have been in that position at halftime. "There's still a lot of areas to improve on, but that's probably a good sign when you're in second spot." Manly, actually third behind Parramatta on points differential, entertains resurgent premiers the Bulldogs next Sunday, while the Knights take on the Panthers at Penrith Stadium on Saturday night. Apart from the likely return of Johns, the Knights are also hopeful former Test centre Matt Gidley will be back from injury.