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If the old saying 'defence wins big matches' is true, then the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are on track to lift their first Harold Matthews Cup trophy on Saturday.

The Sea Eagles go into the U16s premiership decider against the Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval with plenty of confidence after producing a massive defensive effort to shut down minor premiers Penrith Panthers 22-10 last Saturday.

Leading 16-4 at half-time, Penrith had 17 sets to Manly's 10 in the second half. The Sea Eagles were also on the end of a 7-1 penalty count but somehow managed to hold out raid after raid on their line.

Simply, it was a defensive effort one had to see to believe as almost the entire second half was played inside Manly's 40 metres.

"The defence we showed against the best attacking side in the competition in Penrith was the best I have seen from an under 16s team. It was great commitment to each other,'' Ott said.

"The team has had to deal with some long term injuries to key personnel throughout the season, so to have the win at Lottoland in the first final against Parramatta, and then being able to put one of our strongest sides on the park against Penrith put us in a good mindset.

"The defensive determination for each other in the Penrith final showed us what is needed and what we are capable of. We must replicate it.

"We have played to 70 per cent of our potential and we can improve on what we have delivered and I would like to see that happen on Saturday."

Ott said the opportunity to become the first Manly team to win the Harold Matthews Cup title since the competition began in 1970 was not lost on his players. The Sea Eagles were beaten by Newcastle in the Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final last year in what was the Club's first appearance in the U16s decider.

"The team fully understands the situation, what lies before us, and that it will take a very strong performance across the park,'' he said.

"This is a great opportunity and we thank the support from the families involved, the Club, supporters, and the Sea Eagles community."

The Grand Final marks the third time Manly and Parramatta will clash this season with the honours currently shared. Parramatta made it through after downing Newcastle 36-12.

Parramatta won 14-10 in round two at Cabramatta with the Sea Eagles denied a try in the corner in the final minute on a forward pass call.

In their most recent clash, Manly held on to win 26-24 after the Eels missed a conversion attempt after the siren from the sideline in what was an epic battle.

The Eels are the most successful club in the Harold Matthews competition, having won 20 premiership titles.

Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final

Manly vs Parramatta

Leichhardt Oval, Saturday, May 5, 12pm Kick-off will live stream the Grand Final.


Manly's Road to the Grand Final

Rd 1: beat North Sydney 38-0, Lottoland

Rd 2: lost to Parramatta 14-10, New Era Stadium

Rd 3: beat Canterbury 26-12, Belmore Sports Ground

Rd 4: beat Central Coast Roosters 40-0, Lottoland

Rd 5: beat Illawarra 30-24, Collegians Sports Complex

Rd 6: beat Canberra 50-10, HE Laybutt Field

Rd 7: beat Balmain Tigers 20-18, Leichhardt Oval

Rd 8: beat St George 22-18, HE Laybutt Field

Rd 9: beat Western Suburbs 34-10, Campbelltown Stadium

Qualifying Final: beat Parramatta 26-24, Lottoland

Finals Week 2: Did not play

Preliminary Final: beat Penrith 22-10, St Marys Leagues Stadium

Sea Eagles Grand Final team

1 Tolu Koula

2 Cameron Brown

3 Toni Mataele

4 Seturi Iakopo

5 Tapu Tuipulotu

6 Tony Francis

7 Kaeo Weekes

8 Tyreece Matangi

9 Gordon Chan Kum Tong

10 Israel Ahofono

11 Samuel Pinomi (C)

12 Siua Fotu

13 James Uesele


14 Tyrone Holakeituai

15 Marley Hunter

25 Valeli Tonga

26 Jai Vakai

17 Darcy Hoy

21 Logan Fox

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Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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