Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 20-10 loss to the Victoria Thunderbolts at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne today in round 19 of the Jersey Flegg.
In a match played in very cold conditions, the Thunderbolts went into the match three points clear of Manly in 12th position with the Sea Eagles one point clear of the bottom placed North Sydney Bears.
The Thunderbolts opened the scoring in the third minute when centre Antonio Sanele crashed over in the left corner after catching the Sea Eagles short. Second-rower Matt Stimson failed to convert from the sideline for a 4-0 lead.
The Sea Eagles were denied a try to prop Zac Saddler a few minutes later after the referee ruled he was held up over the line.
Manly were rewarded for some strong forward play in the 15th minute when winger Simon Tito scored in the left corner from a long floating cut out pass by half-back Jamie Lawler. Saddler failed to convert for a 4-all scoreline.
The Sea Eagles camped themselves in the Thunderbolts quarter on the back of some strong running from Saddler and Sione Fainu but were unable to capitalise.
The Thunderbolts took advantage when winger Saimone Ahomana dived over acrobatically for a try in the right corner in the 25th minute. Stimson failed to convert for an 8-4 lead to the home side.
Half-time: Thunderbolts 8 Sea Eagles 4
The Thunderbolts soaked up some early pressure in the second half before stretching their lead to 12-4 through a try to full-back Troy Hanita-Paki in the 40th minute. The try was not converted.
Some desperate Manly defence denied a try to the Thunderbolts a few minutes later when the referee ruled a player was held up over the line.
The home side took a 16-4 lead when Sanele crashed over in the left corner for his second try in the 52nd minute. Stimson converted his first try for an 18-4 lead.
The Sea Eagles then scored the try of the match to Jamie Lawler in the 56th minute after he backed up a great back by centre Alfred Smalley who found support in Max Lehmann who sent Lawler over. Tito converted for an 18-10 scoreline after 57 minutes.
Stimson then converted a penalty goal for a 20-10 lead with six minutes remaining.
Manly play the 10th placed Wests Tigers at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, next Saturday at 1pm.
1 William Baker, 2 Max Lehmann 3 Dane Oostendorp-Power, 4 Alfred Smalley, 5 Simon Tito, 6 Zac Fulton, 7 Jamie Lawler, 8 Zac Saddler, 9 Tyran Ott, 10 Keith Titmuss, 11 Mosese Faeamani, 14 Keegan Turner, 13 Jacob Sykes; interchange: 12 Ben Gleeson, 15 Matthew Hammond, 16 Viliami Fifita, 17 Sione Fainu. Coach: Shane Sultana.