Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a disappointing 40-6 loss to Penrith Panthers in Round 8 of the Jersey Flegg Cup at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium today.
The Sea Eagles came out flying against the competition leaders with big forward Viliami Fifita throwing an early ball down the left edge to find second-rower Ben Trbojevic.
Penrith opened the scoring in the third minute when forward Ilai Tuia scored the first try under the posts after slipping past the defenders in a sloppy try. Five-eighth Niwhai Puru converted to bring the score to 6-0.
Manly attempted to get themselves their first points, attacking down both sides of the field but unfortunately being called up for errors and being tackled over the sideline. They were fortunate enough to get a call for a scrum 20 metres out from the Panthers’ line. Despite this chance, they were again called back for a penalty for being offside from a kick as possession was turned over.
Penrith winger Flynn Isaacs dived over on the left edge for a try in the 19th minute after a smart hold-up play and pass from Puru. The five-eighth missed the conversion attempt from the sideline for a 10-0 lead.
The Sea Eagles had their chance to score when the ball was kicked out on the full from Penrith on the last tackle, but ultimately turned over the ball metres out from the line after finding some space in play.
Manly fullback Kaeo Weekes did well to gather up a bouncing ball and make it out of his in-goal to prevent a dropout as his side tried to hold on before the break. Forward Rajko Jankovic made an impressive break through the middle of the field but the ball was turned over the next tackle. Both sides shared sets before the siren went for half-time, with Penrith still holding a 10-0 lead.
Penrith opened up the second half with a try after three minutes through second-rower Vito Tevaga. Puru converted to extend the lead to 16-0.
Manly replied with their first try through centre Keegan Turner in the 42nd minute. The ball was chipped to the right side of the field and was regathered before Turner got a hold of the ball and pushed past two defenders to score. Harris slotted the conversion from the sideline to bring the score to 16-6.
Six minutes later, Penrith forced an error from Manly inside their own 10 metres and made them pay a tackle later, with Tuia grabbing his second try of the day. Puru converted for a 22-6 scoreline.
In quick succession, the Panthers scored in the 52nd minute when forward Sunita Lotoaniu had a one-on-one situation before grounding the ball. Puru converted to take the score to 28-6.
After a breakthrough, Penrith received a penalty 35 metres out from the line and with their fullback dealing with an injury, chose to take the shot at two points. Puru converted to extend the lead to 30-6 four minutes later.
Penrith scored two tries in the final five minutes for the 40-6 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles face the Rabbitohs in Round 9 on Saturday, May 8, at 12.15pm at Redfern Oval.