Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have run out 30-20 winners over the Wests Tigers at a soggy Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
Manly opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute. Off the back of a penalty the Sea Eagles wasted little time in spreading it wide and Brett Stewart had to much pace to be stopped close to the line. Feleti Mateo added the extras to give the Sea Eagles a 6-0 lead.
The Wests Tigers replied in unlikely fashion. In the 13th minute, Kevin Naiqama picked off a rushed Kieran Foran pass before setting off down the field. The winger wasn’t able to go all the way but with numbers to the right, Mitchell Moses stepped inside to give the Wests Tigers their first points. Pat Richards levelled the score with the boot.
Come the 26th minute the joint venture club were in again with a slick backline move, which was finished off by Richards. Richards was unable to convert his own try from out wide and the score remained 10-6.
The Sea Eagles responded with a try of their own in the 35th minute. Kieran Foran placed a beautiful chip kick over to the left side and Steve Matai plucked it out of the air before grounding the football. Mateo made no mistake with the conversion and Manly led 12-10.
Wests Tigers lost centre, David Nofoaluma to a knee injury with two minutes to go before halftime but not even he would have stopped Manly’s next try.
Mateo almost dropped a simple catch but regathered the ball. This bamboozled the Wests Tigers defence and Mateo produced an inside ball to Foran, who raced away to score under the post. Mateo slotted an easy conversion and to give Manly an 18-10 lead at halftime.
At the start of the second half Manly thought they had first points, however Daly Cherry-Evans lost control of the ball when grounding and the video referee ruled no try against the halfback.
However in the 45th minute Manly went the length of the field to score. Brett Stewart pounced on an infield kick from Cherry-Evans who found space out wide. Mateo was again successful with the kick and Manly led 24-10.
In the 49th minute the Wests tigers received some possession and Naiqama finished acrobatically in the corner. Richards missed a difficult kick from the sideline and the Sea Eagles led 24-14.
After 20 minutes of back and forth rugby league, Manly finally broke through a resilient Wests Tigers. Cherry-Evans played through Tom Symonds who fed it back to Ligi Sao who crossed in the 68th minute.
Mateo slotted an easy kick and Manly stretched their lead out to 30-14.
However, the Wests Tigers were going to make a game of it and scored a controversial try in the 73rd minute.
Moses regathered his own chip kick, which he then offloaded to Like Brooks who appeared to have lost it before being played on by James Tedesco, who kicked off the ground for Moses to chase who then grounded the steeden. The original decision was given no try but video referee deemed that the ball had been knocked out Brooks’ hand and the West Tigers gave Manly fans something to worry about.
Richards made no mistake from the conversion and the game was right back in the balance.
The Wests Tigers then had their own try controversially disallowed when Tim Simona went over. On-field referee Jarrod Maxwell said no try and the video referee agreed, with the Sea Eagles breathing a sigh of relief.
The joint venture club tried one last time to get back within one try but the pass to Richards was to far in front of him and it went sailing over the sideline.
The Sea Eagles saw out the match with solid defence as they recorded their fourth win of the season in front of a jubilant Brookvale crowd.