The Sea Eagles travelled down to Victoria to face the Melbourne Storm looking to end a run of five successive defeats. It was a tough battle in wet and slippery conditions on ANZAC day but the Manly side came out on tops to break the run of defeats to topple the home side 12-10.
Geoff Toovey made a string of changes to the side that took on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs last Friday night with Brett Stewart returning to fullback and Kieran Foran at five-eighth. Jorge Taufua returned on the wing in place of Cheyse Blair who is out with a back injury. Stewart’s return saw Peta Hiku move into the centers while Brayden Wiliame dropped out of the side for the clash.
The Sea Eagles started the match very brightly in wet conditions when an early penalty was won. David ‘Wolfman’ Williams kicked for the goal and the Silvertails started with an early lead of 2-0 with less than 10 minutes played.
The Storm found their way into the contest and had the majority of possession and they were rewarded with 20 minutes on the clock when Marika Koroibete crossed over from out wide. Cameron Smith missed the conversion and the score was just 4-2 halfway into the first period.
Steve Matai was placed on report for a high shot on Will Chambers and the Storm extended their lead even further when Blake Green was able to break through the Manly defensive lines and lay it off for Cooper Cronk to slide in under the posts. Smith converted to put the Melbourne side 10-2 ahead going into the sheds at half time.
The second half started with a downpour of rain and both sides were slugging it out in the wet conditions. Manly were awarded consecutive penalties and were pushing hard on the Storm’s defensive line. The persistence paid off as Tom Symonds crossed over after some great passing by Daly Cherry-Evans. ‘The Wolfman’ nailed the conversion to bring the score to within a couple of points, the Storm were still leading though 10-8.
Kevin Proctor was a fingertip away from extending the Storm’s lead back again but he couldn’t quite put the ball down and Manly had the restart on the 20 metre line.
Jamie Buhrer was forced off the field with what looks like a knee injury which is a huge blow for the Northern Beaches side.
The Storm threatened again as Cooper Cronk came close with a similar situation to Kevin Proctor’s attempt but the referee ruled a double knock-on and the Sea Eagles had the 20 metre restart. Brett Stewart was placed on report for what looked like a harsh elbow on Koroibete.
The visitors hit the lead with less than eight minutes to go when David Williams just squeezed over the try line from out wide after brilliant intricate passing from Daly Cherry-Evans who was having a terrific game so far. The stage was set for a nervy finish.
The Sea Eagles had to suffer some late pressure from the Melbourne based outfit and Kurt Mann came within inches to snatching the lead back for the Storm with just a couple of minutes remaining.
The boys showed a huge amount of steel and courage to seal out the game and defeat the ladder leaders 12-10. Daly Cherry-Evans was awarded the man of the match award and the Manly side comes home with a fantastic result in tough conditions in Melbourne.