Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a hard fought 28-24 win over North Sydney Bears at Lottoland today in the opening round of the SG Ball Cup competition.
The Sea Eagles opened the scoring when talented centre Ben Trbojevic crossed in the first minute for a 4-0 lead. Centre Max Lehmann failed to convert the try.
Outstanding Manly full-back Albert Hopoate, himself a local junior like Trbojevic, scored the second try for the Sea Eagles when he found open space to break away to cross. Lehman missed the conversion attempt.
Hopoate scored his second try off a nice pass from winger Simi Afeaki to make it 12-0 after 11 minutes.
The Sea Eagles made it 16-0 when lock Tom Hardcastle ran off a magnificent short pass from five-eighth Joshua Schuster. Second-rower Joshua Fepuleai converted the try for an 18-0 lead after 21 minutes.
North Sydney lock Tevita Piukana crossed for the Bears with a try under the posts in the 28th minute. Full-back Sam Stratis converted the try for an 18-6 scoreline.
Following a break downfield by Hopoate off a nice pass by Schuster, the Sea Eagles crossed through second-rower Sean Vaivelata out wide. Sione Fainu failed to convert the try for a 22-6 lead at half-time.
The Bears opened the scoring in the second half with a converted try to half-back Floyd Tighe for a 22-12 scoreline.
Manly second-rower Sean Vaivelata scored for the Sea Eagles when he carried three defenders across the line. Second-rower Joshua Fepuleai converted for a 28-12 lead.
Some poor defence by the Sea Eagles allows second-rower Lennox Whittaker to burrow under the post for a try. The Bears converted for a 28-18 scoreline.
Norths then crashed over next to the posts to make it 28-24 with 30 seconds remaining but Manly held on to take the two competition points.
Earlier, Manly crushed the Bears 38-0 in the Harold Matthews competition.