Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a hard fought 20-14 victory over the Western Suburb Magpies at Lottoland today in round four of the NSWRL Harold Matthews Cup.
For the third consecutive game in a row, the Sea Eagles played in wet conditions. The home side showed their resilience in defence and were strong in attack through the 60 minutes.
The victory leaves Manly undefeated from three wins and a bye.
The Sea Eagles got off to a perfect start with centre and captain Josh Feledy beating four defenders to go over in the corner from a Manly scrum win in the third minute. Hooker Ollie Cummins failed to convert the try from the sideline for a 4-0 scoreline.
Manly were very strong in the opening 10 minutes with some powerful runs and were unlucky not to score from a chip kick only for winger Revelation Sio to drop the ball.
The Magpies’ first real attacking opportunity came inside Manly’s quarter in the 12th minute but came up short due to another error in their play the ball.
Manly were then forced to soak up pressure on their line with the Magpies surprisingly taking a penalty goal 10 metres out through fullback Taj’h Colquhoun for a 4-2 score line five minutes later.
Some fine work from half-back Alfred Ah Chong and full-back Lehi Hopoate saw Sio make up for his earlier mistake when he dived over in the right corner in the 23rd minute. Cummins missed the conversion from the sideline for an 8-2 lead.
With three minutes to go, Manly forward Rene Bagon crashed over off a penalty tap to score near the posts. Cummins converted for a 14-2 lead at half-time.
The Sea Eagles were denied a try in the opening minute of the second half when Cummins was held up over the line.
A silly mistake by the Sea Eagles proved costly with the Magpies scoring underneath the posts in the 34th minute through forward Solomone Saukuru. Colquhoun converted for a scoreline of 14-8.
On the back of errors and penalties and thanks to some solid footwork, Magpies five-eighth Kit Laulilii scored on the edge five minutes later. Colquhoun converted to level the game at 14-all.
Cummins then showed his sheer strength and determination to fight for a try in the 46th minute after a strong run from Hopoate before leaving the field with right arm injury. Alfred Ah Chong converted the try to regain the lead 20-14.
The Sea Eagles were denied a chance to close out the game with two minutes remaining after the referee called the play back for a forward pass.
Manly held on after an error filled end to the second half, and a late surge in the last minute from the Magpies to win the game.
The Sea Eagles play the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Lottoland next Saturday, March 6, at 10am.