Late surge not enough to save Sea Eagles

A late comeback by Manly Warringah Sea Eagles was not enough to secure victory at Lottoland tonight in round two of the Telstra Premiership.

Trailing 22-0 at half-time, the Sea Eagles fought back late in the second half to go down 26-18 in their first home game of the season.

The match marked the NRL debut of Manly second-rower Corey Waddell with Sea Eagles back-rower Joel Thompson playing his 200th first-grade game.

Heavy rain fell throughout the first half but it was the Roosters who handled the conditions better with half-back Luke Keary having a hand in all four tries in the first 40 minutes.

The Roosters opened the scoring in the third minute through winger Brett Morris after the ball went over the top of opposite winger Jorge Taufua from a kick by Keary. Five-eighth Latrell Mitchell converted for a 6-0 lead.

The Sea Eagles were denied a try minutes later when Roosters full-back James Tedesco planted the ball down in-goal from an Api Koroisau grubber kick.

The Roosters went to a 10-0 lead when winger Daniel Tupou pulled in a high pass from Keary in the ninth minute before the visitors scored their third try when Keary offloaded to send Boyd Cordner over near the posts. Mitchell converted for a 16-0 lead.

The Sea Eagles produced some great defence to stop the Roosters twice on their line in one set in the 28th minute.

Keary then set up his team’s fourth try when he placed a chip kick over the top of centre Moses Suli for Tupou to score. Mitchell converted for a 22-0 lead at half-time.

Manly came close to scoring in the 49th minute through forward Jack Gosiewski but his outstretched arm fell just short of the line.

Cordner extended the Roosters lead to 26-0 when he pounced on a grubber kick from Lachlan Lam to score in the 50th minute. Mitchell failed to convert the try.

The Sea Eagles got on the board when hooker Manase Fainu fought hard to get the ball down to score in a two-man tackle in the 58th minute.  Half-back Daly Cherry-Evans converted for a 26-6 scoreline.

 A minute later, the Sea Eagles were in again when lock Jake Trbojevic finished off a great run and pass from winger Reuben Garrick to score near the posts. Cherry-Evans converted to leave Manly trailing 26-12 after 60 minutes.

Garrick then showed a clean pair of heels to link up with Cherry-Evans before Moses Suli crossed from a kick that came off a Roosters player. Cherry-Evans converted for a 26-18 scoreline after 76 minutes.

It was the second loss of the season for Manly who now tackle the Warriors in a home game at AMI Stadium, Christchurch next Saturday.