Red-hot Sea Eagles crush Canberra
Daly Cherry-Evans has capped off a remarkable return from injury to help his side annihilate the Raiders 54-18 at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.
The star halfback had a hand in seven of his side's nine tries as the Sea Eagles piled on the points to move into second position on the NRL ladder equal on competition points with the Bulldogs on 12.
His performance comes just nine days after his fellow halves partner Kieran Foran featured in Manly’s come from behind win against the Cowboys.
In a flawless first half from the Sea Eagles, which included a hat trick from winger Peta Hiku, six try assists by halfback Cherry-Evans and their captain Jamie Lyon kicking seven from seven with the boot, the home side blew out to a mammoth 42-point lead just after the half hour mark to all but seal victory.
Cherry-Evans starred as he tore the opposition defensive line to pieces, excelling in the absence of halves partner Foran, who was replaced by debutant Jack Littlejohn.
An early 40/20 kick illustrating Littlejohns potential as he put Anthony Watmough over from the ensuing set to stamp his mark in the top-grade.
But it was Manly’s ace No.7 who dominated the highlights reel in a display that would surely seal a spot in Friday’s Test against the Kiwis.
His magic pass over the Canberra defence igniting the first half onslaught as Hiku crossed for his first of the afternoon.
From the ensuing set he sliced through a disjointed defensive line on half way to put Lyon in under the posts.
He then had the consciousness to get the ball out to the edge after feeling the full brunt of Canberra’s defence to set up Manly’s fourth try inside 15 minutes as Hiku grabbed his second.
Brett Stewart hadn’t scored a try this season but with the form Cherry-Evans was in, that was about to change as he found himself in the clear following a half break by his halfback who found Stewart in support.
Hiku then took his side out to a unassailable 42-point lead just after the half hour mark as he pounced on a neat grubber kick from Cherry-Evans to bag a first half hat trick.
Two runway tries on either side of the break to Raiders winger Reece Robinson and centre Jarrod Crocker reducing the enormous deficit.
However, the party in Brookvale wasn’t about to end with the Stewart brothers combining as Brett provided the final pass for Hiku to cross for his fourth try.
Yes, that man again Cherry-Evans set up yet another try as he kicked back in field on the first tackle to send Jorge Taufua under the sticks.
Canberra managed to grab two late tries to Jack Wighton and Josh McCrone to add some respectability to the score line.