Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 32-20 loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone, today in round five of the Telstra Premiership.
In front of a sold out crowd of 5,135 in Central Queensland, the Sea Eagles fought hard after trailing by 12 points at half-time and despite a gallant comeback in the second half, just couldn’t get across the line to take the two competition points back home.
Manly full-back Tom Trbojevic missed the game after failing to pass a fitness test on his injured ankle.
Second-rower Jack Gosiewski became the 602nd player to represent Manly after making his club debut.
The Sea Eagles had a late change to the starting side after winger Brad Parker fell ill with a gastric virus during the pre-game warm up. He was replaced by Jono Wright, who also made his club debut for Manly (603rd player).
With a strong wind behind them, the Sea Eagles the scoring when winger Jono Wright strolled over in the left corner for a 4-0 lead after two minutes. Half-back and captain Daly Cherry-Evans converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead.
The Titans hit back in the sixth minute when a kick by Ash Taylor was knocked by Ryan James for Jarrad Wallace to score. Michael Gordon converted for a 6-all scoreline.
Manly regained in the 11th minute when Cherry-Evans converted a penalty goal.
The Titans took the lead in the 26th minute when lock Jai Arrow crossed from a Bryce Cartwright flick pass to score. Gordon converted the try for a 12-8 lead after 28 minutes.
A minute later, Titans centre Konrad Hurrell dropped the ball over the line in a strong run from dummy half.
Gold Coast went to a 14-8 lead in the 36th minute when Gordon converted a penalty goal from in front of the posts.
The home side took an 18-8 lead two minutes later when Manly winger Akuila Uate lost the ball in a tackle made by Gordon from a clearing kick for forward Morgan Boyle to score. Gordon converted to give Manly a 20-8 lead at half-time.
The Sea Eagles lost five-eighth Lachlan Croker in the first minute after the break with concussion after he was hit in the head by a Ryan James shoulder.
Manly looked set to score four minutes later when centre Brian Kelly jinked his way past Gordon to lose control of the ball 10 metres out from the line.
Gordon took the Titans out to a 22-8 lead in the 50th minute when he converted a penalty goal from 28 metres out.
Cherry-Evans got the Sea Eagles back in the game when he took an intercept pass to race 90 metres to score next to the posts. He converted his own try to leave Manly trailing 22-14 with 25 minutes remaining. Croker then returned to the field after passing his HIA test.
Manly hooker Api Koroisau then scooted from dummy half before Kelly weaved his way into open space to score next to the posts. Cherry-Evans converted the try to leave Manly trailing 22-20 with 20 minutes remaining.
Croker then left the field with 12 minutes remaining and replaced again by Jackson Hastings. He made an immediate impact when Hastings applied pressure to force Ash Taylor to kick the ball out on the full to give Manly a scrum win on halfway.
The good work by Hastings almost paid off too but referee Ashley Klein called a pass forward from Koroisau to second-rower Joel Thompson as he crossed the tryline two minutes later.
The Titans used their good fortune when winger Anthony Don finished off a backline play on the last tackle to score in the corner for a 26-20 lead with six minutes remaining. Gordon failed to convert the try from the sideline.
Taylor tried to win the game with a field goal in the 77th minute but the ball was touched in flight, resulting in a drop out.
The Titans sealed the game with a try to Jai Arrow after the ball was picked up and lost by Martin Taupau from a poor pass from dummy half from the Titans. Despite three Manly players trying to hold him up, the try was awarded by the NRL Bunker on insufficient evidence.
Kevin Proctor converted the try in his 200th NRL game for a 32-20 win.