Harold Matts semi-final | Manly 46 d Illawarra 6
Double again...Manly five-eighth Kaeo Weekes has scored four tries in the last two finals wins. Photo: Bryden Sharp.
An outstanding first half performance saw the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles record a crushing 46-6 victory over Illawarra in the NSWRL Harold Matthew semi-final today.
Ilawarra went into the semi-final on the back of a 40-30 loss to undefeated minor premiers Newcastle. The Steelers finished the regular season in fourth place with six wins from eight matches.
The Sea Eagles, coached by Brett Fulton, finished the regular season in fifth place with six wins from eight games and went into the semi-final on the back of a crushing 48-6 win over Central Coast Roosters in the elimination quarter final.
The Sea Eagles scored six first half tries to take a commanding 34-0 lead into the break in a performance with five-eighth Kaeo Weekes scoring a double.
First half tryscorers for the Sea Eagles were second-rower Jacob Ratcliff (8th min), half-back Daniel Ala (11th min), Weekes (14th, 24th mins), second-rower and captain Joshua Schuster (20th min), and prop Alec Tuitavake.
Illawarra scored the opening try of the second half to trail 34-6 before the Sea Eagles crossed again through tries to hooker Jack Birt (42nd min), centre Ben Trbojevic, and full-back Albert Hopoate (55th min).
Ala kicked five goals in the win.
The Sea Eagles will now play Parramatta Eels in the preliminary final next Saturday at a venue/time to be advised. The Eels finished the regular season in third place.
Undefeated minor premiers Newcastle will play Canberra in the other preliminary final.