Courageous. Fearless. Never say die!
They are just some of the words you could use to describe Manly’s gutsy 14-6 win over the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Sports Stadium tonight in round six of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
This was one special win and one Manly players, coaching staff, officials, and members will remember for a very long time.
Having lost five-eighth Dylan Walker (ankle) and Brad Parker (HIA) in the opening five minutes, Manly were then forced to play almost 30 minutes without brilliant full-back Tom Trbojevic, who limped off with a hamstring injury.
It left Manly with just one player on the bench.
Match Highlights: Raiders v Sea Eagles
This was already on top of the Sea Eagles going into the match missing Martin Taupau, Moses Suli and Jorge Taufua through injury.
However, what made this win so special was the adversity and the determination by every single Manly player not to surrender.
The loss of Walker saw Lachlan Croker move into five-eighth with Jack Gosiewski in the centres for Parker.
The Raiders threw plenty at Manly early but the great defensive work by the Sea Eagles was rewarded when Tom Trbojevic crossed over in the corner in the 13th minute. Winger Reuben Garrick converted for a 6-0 lead.
The Sea Eagles continued to dig deep to keep the Raiders at bay before Trbojevic put Tevita Funa into a hole for the winger to score out wide in the 36th minute. Garrick converted for a 12-0 lead which the Sea Eagles took into half-time.
The opening five minutes of the second half saw simple mistakes made by both sides.
The Raiders got on the board in the 50th minute when second-rower Elliot Whitehead found clear space near the line to score. Jarrod Croker converted for a 12-6 scoreline.
Two minutes later, Tom Trbojevic limped off with the hamstring injury.
Garrick extended Manly’s lead to 14-6 with a penalty goal in the 55th minute after the Raiders were caught offside.
The Raiders were denied a try in the 62nd minute after Jarrod Croker leapt high to take a bomb on Manly’s line only to lose possession in trying to ground it.
Eight minutes later, second-rower Curtis Sironen - playing in the centres by then - pull of a trysaving tackle on Jordan Rapana that saw the winger’s foot go over the sideline.
As the minutes ticked down, the Sea Eagles frustrated the Raiders into more mistakes.
The sound of the full-time siren saw Manly players express sincere joy as they knew they had just created something very special in a gallant 80 minutes.
Manly Coach Des Hasler later described the victory as one of the best wins he has been associated with in his time at the Club.
The Sea Eagles will now wait on results of scans to determine the extent of the injuries to Walker and Trbojevic.