Manly looked to continue their blistering start to the season when they travelled down to Wollongong to take on the Dragons on Saturday night.
Manly exploded into action straight from the kick off when star man, Tom Trbojevic burst through and marched down the field before being brought down in a tackle on the Dragons 40 metre line. Manly however, were unable to make the chance count and proceeded to park themselves in the Dragons half.
The first 20 minutes saw both teams defend admirably and no clear-cut chances were created as the two forward packs battled it out.
The first try eventually came when the Dragons got themselves into decent field position and decided to test the aerial ability of the Manly outside backs. The kick was placed brilliantly and it was, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga who came down with the ball to score giving his side a 4-0 lead.
The St George-Illawarra outfit were then back down in Manly’s half and a stepping Adam Clume managed to wriggle his way over to score the Dragons second four-pointer. His try was converted and the score went out to 10-0
With the game starting to open up, Manly’s persistence finally paid off and it was Trbojevic who was at the centre of the action. He stepped inside, before passing to winger Mitch Thomas, who scored in the corner.
The young silvertails started to build from this as the Dragons struggled to get out of their own half. With this increased pressure, Manly took to the air and it was Trbojevic who was underneath it to score. The young fullback juggled it before landing as he took his try-scoring tally out to eight for the season.
The game saw few chances before the end of the half with the only opportunity being another Trbojevic break. Manly failed to make it count and the game ended even at halftime. Scores lock at 10-10.
The second half began with Manly in the ascendancy and they made their early pressure count when Liam Knight was too good close to the line. Nicholas Hynes stepped up for kicking duties and made no mistake to give Manly the lead for the first time in the match.
Despite having most of the ball, the Sea Eagles were unable to make their good field position count. Wasting chance after chance the under 20’s side were then made to pay when the Dragons gained momentum after weathering the storm. St George-Illawarra winger, Aufaga-Toomaga scored his second try for the evening and then converted from out wide to level the scoring with 15 minutes on the clock.
The Sea Eagles were then quick to respond when Lucas Price did extremely well to score in the corner. The kick was missed and it was a four-point game for the last ten minutes.
Manly were sweating when a Dragon’s front rower went over to score; however the referee deemed him to run behind his teammate giving a penalty to the Sea Eagles and more importantly, a massive let off.
The boys perserverance paid off when Nicholas Hynes broke away and ran 60 metres to score in the corner and all but seal the game.
With Only three minutes to go the Dragons pushed to get the win and went extremely close when the Red V’s fullback was unbelievably stopped by Trbojevic out wide.
The red V did get their try and converted it with seconds to spare, however there wasn’t enough time for the Sea Eagles to kick off and the game finished 24-22 in favour of Manly.
The boys take on the Canberra Raiders next week, looking to go five from five.