Manly Warringah Sea Eagles moved into the NSWRL Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final with a 32-12 win over the Western Suburbs Magpies at Leichardt Oval today.
The Sea Eagles will now play arch rivals Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval in the season decider at 1pm on Saturday, May 1.
Manly centres Eli Sagala and Josh Feledy each grabbed two tries as their side ran away with a 20-point victory, showcasing their skills and dominance which sees them remain undefeated.
After a shaky start from both sides with a handful of errors and penalties, Manly struck first in the sixth minute with Sagala diving over for an easy try. Back-rower Dylan Coutts held the ball up perfectly before putting the pacey centre through a gap for the first try. Hooker TJ Herring missed the conversion from the sideline for a 4-0 lead.
The Magpies attempted to get themselves in good field position through their kicks but winger Calvin Levy and fullback Lehi Hopoate were safe under the high ball, defusing the plays as the game continued.
Halfback Rory Morgan, who was filling in for Ollie Cummins, stepped up to place a smart grubber kick through as he forced a repeat set in the 13th minute. Barnstorming runs from props Samuela Fainu and Raymond Lole brought the Sea Eagles another opportunity, but the Magpies’ goalline defence kept them in the game.
Second-rower Drew Williams made a one-on-one strip 40 metres out four minutes later as the Manly side continued with their attack. Captain Josh Feledy was close to scoring on the left edge but was unfortunately held up.
The Magpies made their way downfield for lock Solomone Saukuru to crash over in the 21st minute to score. Fullback Taj’h Colquhoun missed the conversion with the scores level at 4-all.
In the set that followed the kick-off, winger Ofele Lene raced down the sideline to score in quick succession. Hopoate was close to stopping him but was just short of taking him into touch. Colquhoun missed the conversion as his side took the lead, 8-4.
Sea Eagles five-eighth Latu Fainu replied with an astounding try in the 25th minute, forcing the second one-on-one strip of the match before beating two defenders to score under the posts. Herring was unsuccessful with the conversion, hitting the crossbar and rebounding out as the scores were level at 8-all.
Manly hit back with quick succession tries of their own, with Feledy taking a pass off Fainu from the kick-off before breaking down the sideline and outpacing three defenders to score for his side two minutes later. Herring converted for a 14-8 lead at the break.
It only took three minutes of the second half before Manly crossed again as Sagala grabbed his second for the match after pushing past two defenders and sprinting away to dive over in the corner. Herring was successful from the sideline to extend the lead to 20-8.
The floodgates appeared to be opened as Manly scored again in the 40th minute, with Feledy linking up with full-back Lehi Hopoate to grab his second try.
The fullback dragged two defenders into the tackle before popping the ball out to the skillful centre, who ran 50 metres to beat the fullback to score. Herring converted for a 26-8 lead.
Manly winger Revelation Sio scored in the 48th minute after taking a pass from Sagala to score his side's sixth try of the match. Herring nailed the conversion from the sideline to make the score 32-8.
The Magpies grabbed themselves a consolation try with seven minutes to play through winger Faaletino Tavana after he took a well-placed kick in the corner for a 32-12 scoreline.
Fainu was placed on report for a dangerous tackle with seconds remaining as the referee blew the whistle for full-time.
Manly will be looking to claim its second ever Harold Matthews Cup title next Saturday after claiming their first in 2018 against Parramatta.