Manly Warringah Sea Eagles turned in a gallant effort in going down 28-16 to undefeated competition leaders Penrith Panthers at Carrington Park, Bathurst, today.
The Sea Eagles certainly pushed the Panthers to the limit in the second half after trailing 16-6 at the break before the home side scored a late try to take the two competition points in round eight of the Telstra Premiership.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, the Sea Eagles opened the scoring with a penalty goal to Reuben Garrick in the eighth minute for as 2-0 lead before the Panthers hit back with an almost 90 metre try when the ball sat up perfectly in-goal for full-back Dylan Edwards to score off an inside kick by centre Matt Burton. Half-back Nathan Cleary converted for a 6-2 lead after 12 minutes.
A minute later, the Panthers were in again when winger Brian To’o ran off a floating pass from five-eighth Jarome Luai to score in the corner. Cleary failed to convert for a 10-2 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles got back into the game when full-back Tom Trbojevic raced 60 metres to score off an intercept pass. Garrick failed to convert the try to leave Manly trailing 10-6 after 28 minutes.
Cleary gave the Panthers a 10-point lead five minutes later when he converted a try to Liam Martin after the half-back put the back-rower through a hole to score.
Trailing 16-6 at half-time, the Sea Eagles were the first to score in the second half when captain and half-back Daly Cherry-Evans crossed from his own grubber kick after the ball hit the posts. He converted his own try to leave Manly trailing 16-12 after 47 minutes.
A grubber kick by Cleary caught the Sea Eagles napping on their line for Tyrone May to score next to the posts. Cleary converted for a 22-12 lead after 58 minutes.
The Sea Eagles were then forced to dig deep for a number of sets on their line to keep the Panthers out.
The defensive effort was rewarded when winger Jason Saab raced 70 metres to score next to the posts. Cherry-Evans failed to convert for a 22-16 scoreline with five minutes remaining.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Sea Eagles
The Panthers sealed victory three minutes from full-time through a try to centre Stephen Crichton after Manly wanted for the ball to go dead in-goal. Cleary converted for the 28-16 scoreline.