Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are into the 2015 Holden Cup Grand Final.
The Sea Eagles will play Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium next Sunday, October 4, at 1.30pm after beating one of the gun sides in North Queensland Cowboys, 25-24, at AAMI Park.
Having finished the regular season in fourth place, the Sea Eagles lost to Penrith in week one of the finals before beating Wests Tigers in an elimination semi-final last week.
It was then a case of overcoming the second-placed Cowboys, a task many experts predicted wouldn’t happen.
However the Sea Eagles, as they have done all season, rose again to overcome a half-time deficit to kick a late field goal through Nicho Hynes to secure a memorable victory and place in the decider.
The Cowboys opened the scoring in the seventh minute off a crossfield kick to centre Akeripa Tia Kilifi off a kick from five-eighth Kyle Laybutt. The try was converted by Laybutt for a 6-0 lead.
The Sea Eagles got on the board in the 16th minute when full-back Tommy Trbojevic got on the outside of a defender to score behind the posts. Hugh Pratt converted for a 6- all scoreline.
A nice crossfield kick by five-eighth Will Pearsall was tapped on by Trbojevic for winger Jesse Bogle to score out wide. Pratt converted for a 12-6 lead after 20 minutes.
A pressure pass from half-back Riley Travers to Trbojevic saw the Cowboys winger and prolific tryscorer pick up the loose pass to race 95 metres untouched to score. Laybutt converted for a 12-all scoreline after 27 minutes.
The Cowboys regained the lead when a crossfield kick saw winger Jesse Bogle drop the ball for centre Conor Carey to score. The try was not converted for a 16-12 scoreline after 32 minutes.
Nth Qld survived an overturn Captain’s Challenge from the Sea Eagles in the 37th minute with some solid defence inside their quarter.
Nicho Hynes converted a penalty goal on half-time to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 16-14 at the break.
The Cowboys scored a freakish try in the 43rd minute when they kept the ball alive for half-back Cooper Bambling to score next to the posts when nothing was really on. Laybutt converted for a 22-14 lead.
A nice play with two decoys used resulted in a try to Bogle to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 22-18. Pratt converted from the sideline for a 22-20 scoreline after 56 minutes.
Pratt converted a penalty goal in the 64th minute to draw the Sea Eagles level at 22-all. The hooker the calmly slotted a 35 metre penalty goal to give Manly Warringah a 24-22 lead after 70 minutes.
The lead was short lived when the Cowboys converted a penalty goal from in front to draw level at 24-all after 73 minutes.
Hynes then showed some class and skill when he stepped past a defender to kick a field goal to put the Sea Eagles ahead 25-24.
Pratt had a chance inside the final minute minutes to extend the lead but missed a penalty attempt. He managed to kick the ball dead. The Cowboys did a short drop out but knocked the ball on in trying to regather to give the Sea Eagles victory.