Three tries in five minutes saw the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles record a crushing 40-6 victory over the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium today in round seven of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
The win made it three straight victories for Coach Des Hasler's men who built on an 18-6 half-time lead to cruise home with 22 unanswered points in the second half.
The Sea Eagles managed to keep the Tigers to one try whilst dominating in attack, with all players across the field putting in what was a dominant performance.
The opening five minutes of the match was a tug-of-war battle, with each side setting the standard for the match with hard hitting runs and matching them with strength in defence. .
Manly were forced to soak up three defensive sets on their own line, which eventually amounted to the Tigers scoring in the 11th minute. Luciano Leilua dived on the ball in the in-goal after a deflected grubber kick from halfback Luke Brooks came off the arm of Daly Cherry-Evans. Five-eighth Adam Doueihi converted next to the posts for a 6-0 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles had their turn attacking the line after gaining three consecutive sets of six at the Tigers’ line but were unable to utilise the chances, dropping the ball inside the 10-metre line.
Manly centre Morgan Harper made a break in play from inside his own half in the 19th minute and attempted to put a grubber kick through for one of the many support players, only for Tigers full-back Daine Laurie to get his foot in the way and defuse the play.
An unsuccessful captain’s challenge from the Tigers on a call against them meant that Manly had possession inside their opposition’s 50. They went close to finding the line when Cherry-Evans threw a cut-out ball, only for winger Jason Saab to drop it metres out.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles
The Tigers looked to have scored another in the 27th minute when winger David Nofoaluma dived over, only for the referee to blow a penalty in favour of Manly after an obstruction call in the lead up to the try.
Two minutes later, the pressure that had been built up brought a try for the Sea Eagles side, with Cherry-Evans scoring. Manly second-rower Josh Schuster was influential in the play, after skipping past the defence around the halfway line and drawing the full-back before finding his captain. Winger Reuben Garrick converted from in front to level the scores at 6-all.
In quick succession, Cherry-Evans had a double at the 31st minute after an astounding break from Tom Trbojevic. The fullback got a hold of the ball on his own 40, broke through with blistering speed before finding Cherry-Evans, who won the foot race to the line. Garrick converted to give the Sea Eagles a 12-6 lead.
Manly were lighting the field up with their third try in four minutes. Trbojevic made another amazing tackle break in the middle of the field and passed it to Cherry-Evans, who bobbled the ball before handing it off to forward Martin Taupau who scored under the posts. Garrick converted to make the score 18-6.
With a minute and a half to play in the first half, the Tigers had a chance to get a try back. Leilua broke through and saw the line but was held back by Manly’s defence as they eventually turned the ball over. The siren sounded for halftime with the Sea Eagles maintaining a 12-point lead.
The Tigers started the second half off hoping to grab an early try as they forced a repeat set. Off the dropout that followed, Manly got the ball back after Cherry-Evans’ dropkick rolled over the sideline just past the 40-metre line in the other half.
Tom Trobojevic gained a penalty metres out from the line in the 46th minute and the Sea Eagles chose to take the two pointer in order to extend their lead to 14 points, with Garrick converting to make the score 20-6.
Tom Trbojevic then grabbed a try for himself four minutes later after backing up forward Haumole Olakau’tau, who found a gap in the defence after running off a well held-up pass from Cherry-Evans. Garrick converted from in front to extend the lead to 26-6.
Cherry-Evans kicked a stunning 40/20 in the 57th minute, being his second for the season, propelling the side towards their fifth try. The Sea Eagles had the number advantage down the left edge and some quick hands passes to Garrick allowed for an easy four-pointer. His conversion attempt was unsuccessful, with the score remaining 30-6 after the try.
Saab got his name on the board three minutes later with a spectacular aerial effort after he snatched the ball out of his opposing winger’s hands. Cherry-Evans placed the ball in perfect position with a crossfield kick and the winger did the rest. Garrick failed to convert to make the score 34-6.
With seven minutes to play, Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran scored his first try back in the maroon and white, making space for himself after getting a hold of the ball and finding a gap before grounding the ball next to the posts. Garrick converted to bring the score to 40-6.
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Manly now take on competition leaders Penrith Panthers at Carrington Park, Bathurst, on Saturday, May 1, at 3pm.