Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a 22-20 win over the Nth Qld Cowboys at 1300 Smiles Stadium tonight in round 13 of the Telstra Premiership.
Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic backed up from Wednesday night’s Origin match while the Sea Eagles also welcomed the return of full-back Tom Trbojevic from a hamstring injury in his first match since round four. Kane Elgey and Brendan Elliot dropped out of the team.
In front of a crowd of 13,314, the Sea Eagles were forced to soak up some pressure in the opening minutes but their defence remained firm.
Nth Qld was denied a try in the 12th minute after the video referee ruled second-rower Coen Hess knocked the ball on from a pass by five-eighth John Asiata.
Two minutes later, half-back Jake Clifford converted for a 2-0 lead to the Cowboys after second-rower Curtis Sironen was penalised for a lifting tackle on full-back Michael Morgan.
A grubber kick in-goal saw Cherry-Evans produce the first repeat set in the 21st minute. It led to second-rower Curtis Sironen (pictured) barnstorming his way to score next to the posts off a pass by Tom Trbojevic. Winger Reuben Garrick converted from in front for a 6-2 lead after 23 minutes.
The Sea Eagles took a 12-2 lead when Garrick converted a try to second-rower Joel Thompson from a great pass by five-eighth Cade Cust in the 26th minute.
Nth Qld hit back when winger Kyle Feldt made a spectacular dive to score in the corner in the 34th minute. Clifford converted from the sideline for a 12-8 scoreline.
Two minutes later, Feldt then caught a crossfield kick from Morgan to push the pass back inside to centre Tom Opacic to score for a 12-all scoreline. Clifford converted the try for a 14-12 lead in the 38th minute.
A minute later, Cowboys forward Francis Nola crashed over next to the posts after Tom Trbojevic dropped a bomb inside his quarter for Nth Qld’s third try in six minutes. Clifford converted for 20-12 lead at half-time.
The Sea Eagles were all but over the line when second-rower Jack Gosiewski popped a good low pass only for Cherry-Evans to drop the ball with a tackler on him two minutes after half-time.
Manly hit back in the 45th minute when winger Jorge Taufua latched on to a long cut out pass from Tom Trbojevic to score in the left corner. Garrick failed to convert the try for a 20-16 scoreline.
Gosiewski then left the Sea Eagles short a man when he was sent to the sin-bin in the 51st minute after holding back a Cowboys player in following through a grubber kick.
The Cowboys' Reuben Cotter was denied a try in his NRL debut on an obstruction call in the 55th minute.
The Sea Eagles levelled at 20-all in the 60th minute when five-eighth Cade Cust pounced on a spilt ball by the Cowboys from a Cherry-Evans kick to score under the posts. Garrick converted for a 22-20 lead to Manly after 61 minutes.
With the Cowboys left with 12 men for the final 11 minutes due to injuries, the Sea Eagles were denied a try in the 78th minute to Garrick on a forward pass call.
Manly held off the Cowboys in the final minute to record victory and end a two-game losing streak.
The Sea Eagles now play St George-Illawarra Dragons at Lottoland on Sunday, June 16, at 2pm.