Manly Warringah Sea Eagles finished off their pre-season preparations for the NSWRL Jersey Flegg Cup with a fine trial win in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Sea Eagles recorded a 26-10 win over the Victoria Thunderbolts to wrap up their pre-season after earlier trials against South Sydney and Cronulla.
The inclusion of half-back Jamie Humphreys, second-rower Zac Fulton, and prop Viliami Fifita made a big impact on the side after they spent the pre-season training with Manly’s NRL squad.
Manly Coach Adam McEwen said his team was coming along nicely ahead of their season opener against Penrith at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, on Sunday, March 13 (1pm kick-off).
McEwen coached the undefeated Sea Eagles to last year's Harold Matthews Cup premiership title.
The Sea Eagles started well against the Thunderbolts, building up some early pressure in the opening five minutes on the back of some strong runs and went close to scoring a few times. Their best chance came through a fine attacking raid down the left side through second-rower Zane Dunford that saw centre Jason Smyth pulled down short of the line.
Their patience finally paid off when lock Oliver Clements crashed over under the posts from a nice cut off pass from hooker Soakimi Fakaua in the eighth minute. It came on the back of a strong carry by prop Viliami Fifita a play earlier that set up the try. Half-back Jamie Humphreys converted for a 6-0 lead.
Manly were then forced to soak up some defensive pressure inside their half to stop some attacking threats from the Thunderbolts.
The Sea Eagles then produced a superb team try in the 20th minute after the ball travelled through eight sets of hands for winger Sanele Aukustino to score in the right corner. Smyth failed to convert from the sideline for a 10-0 lead.
Three minutes later, the Sea Eagles were in again in the left corner through winger Tom Jarrett after some ball movement from Humphreys, full-back Flynn Angles-Corke and Smyth. Humphreys converted for a 16-0 lead after 26 minutes.
Six minutes later, Humphreys and Angles-Corke combined to send Jarrett over untouched in the left corner. Five-eighth Donovan Boney failed to convert from the sideline for a 20-0 lead. The score remained that way to half-time.
Nine minutes after half-time, the Thunderbolts caught the Sea Eagles napping off a grubber kick to score in the corner for a 20-4 scoreline.
The Thunderbolts were in again through a smart individual converted try to their hooker under the posts to trail 20-10.
The Sea Eagles were then forced to do plenty of defensive work in the middle stages of the second half before the Thunderbolts were left a man short for a high tackle shot with eight minutes remaining.
Manly then secured victory three minutes from full-time after a strong run by forward Faleata Iosefa to score from a penalty tap. Humphreys converted for the 26-10 scoreline.