Manly Warringah Sea Eagles returned to the winners circle today in the Holden Cup with a 24-14 victory over Melbourne Storm.
The round seven match was transferred from Lottoland to Pittwater Park at Narrabeen to protect the playing surface for the NRL match.
The Sea Eagles opened the scoring in fourth minute when a well-weighted cross-field kick from half-back Kurtis Preece landed in the hands of winger Bilal Maarbani to score.
Melbourne hit back with a try 10 minutes later after a double cut out pass found Storm winger Cory Parker for a 4-all scoreline. Full-back Jesse Arthars converted for a 6-4 lead.
Some clever thinking from fullback Luke Polselli saw him put through an impressive grubber kick for a flying Alfred Smalley to score Manly’s second try for an 8-6 lead after 31 minutes.
The Storm then scored a runaway try on half-time to lead 10-8 at the break.
Melbourne started the second half attacking the line but the Sea Eagles showed off some impressive defence that was lacking in the first half.
The hard work in defence paid off for the Sea Eagles when Amoni Tuifui scored a good try. Maarbani converted to give the home side a 14-10 lead.
Manly proved to have much more spring in their step the second half after a number of set completions and some strong defence.
A good pass by Tom Wright then put second-rower Josh Martin through a hole to run 30m to score for a 20-10 lead.
Smalley, with a bone crushing tackle on half way, forced a Melbourne knock on to lift the young Sea Eagles’ spirits even more.
With 10 minutes to go, Wright produced a crossfield for Maarbani to score his second for a 24-10 lead.
The Storm then scored with three minutes remaining for a 24-14 scoreline.