Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 38-18 loss to premiership leaders Melbourne Storm at Brookvale Oval tonight in round 24 of the Telstra Premiership.
With the finals out of contention for Manly, the home side went into the game missing five-eighth Jamie Lyon (hamstring), prop Darcy Lussick (shoulder) and hooker Api Koroisau (hamstring). Brad Parker, Blake Leary and new signing Frank Winterstein came into the team.
The match marked the 100th NRL game for Manly winger Jorge Taufua.
The Storm started the game strongly in front of a crowd of 8241 through two converted tries to winger Suliasi Vunivalu and forward Kenny Bromwich for a 12-0 lead after 16 minutes.
Manly responded well with a nice try to Parker from a cut out pass by full-back Tom Trbojevic. It was Parker’s first try in just his second game in the NRL.
Winger turned five-eighth Matthew Wright converted from the sideline for a 12-6 scoreline after 21 minutes.
Vunivalu grabbed his second try five minutes later when a downfield kick by Cooper Cronk bounced awkwardly for Manly winger Jorge Taufua and into the arms of his opposite to score for a 16-6 lead.
The Storm went to a 22-6 lead when Vunivalu dived over for his third try in the 38th minute.
Inside the dying seconds of the first half, Vunivalu grabbed his fourth try when he caught a Cronk banana kick to crash over for a 26-6 lead at the break.
Parker grabbed his second try of the night when he stepped past four defenders to score after a pass from Wright from a drop Melbourne ball. Wright converted to leave Manly trailing 26-12 after 55 minutes.
The Storm hit back immediately when Smith showed and go from dummy half to race 30m to score untouched. He converted his own try for a 32-12 lead.
Taufua reduced the lead to 32-18 when he swooped on a crossfield kick by Daly Cherry-Evans to score. Wright converted again from the sideline.
The Storm scored again in the 79th minute through Felise Kaufusi. Tohu Harris converted the try for the 38-18 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles play Canberra Raiders at Brookvale Oval next Saturday in the final home game of the season where the Club will farewell retiring captain Jamie Lyon.