A strong second half performance has lifted the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles to a 25-6 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Glen Willow Stadium tonight.
The round four premiership match in Mudgee was the second consecutive year the Sea Eagles have played a home game in the beautiful regional town with thousands of Manly supporters again travelling to enjoy the wonderful country hospitality. Last year, Manly beat the Gold Coast 36-0 at Glen Willow.
The Sea Eagles wore black armbands for the match in a mark of respect to long time Head Trainer Alex Ross following the passing of his father, Ian, on Wednesday.
Prop Josh Aloiai returned to the starting line up in his first game back from suspension with Sean Keppie dropping back to the interchange bench.
The Sea Eagles defence was on song early, soaking up some strong pressure on their own line from the Raiders in the opening 10 minutes.
The hard work paid off when the Sea Eagles opened the scoring through a try to winger Reuben Garrick after a good offload under pressure from new centre Tolu Koula. Garrick converted for a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes.
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Raiders
Six minutes later, a high crossfield kick by half-back Daly Cherry-Evans saw winger Jason Saab leap high to take the ball to pass to second-rower Haumole Olakaua’tu who offloaded to send centre Morgan Harper over in the corner. Garrick failed to convert for a 10-0 lead.
A towering kick by Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton saw Manly full-back Tom Trbojevic knock the ball on in front of his tryline. It led to Wighton later crossing a few tackles later after a show and go to score next to the posts. Half-back Brad Schneider converted for a 10-6 scoreline after 27 minutes.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half was a real slugfest between the sides with Manly finally extending their lead with a try to second-rower Haumole Olakau'atu next to the posts from a Cherry-Evans grubber kick. Garrick converted for a 16-6 lead after 60 minutes.
Two minutes later, the Sea Eagles were in again after the ball was shifted to the left before Tom Trbojevic stretched over with one arm to score in the corner. Garrick converted for a 22-6 lead.
Round 4: Post Match Press Conference
Garrick then converted an easy penalty goal in front for a 24-6 lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Cherry-Evans then landed his 25th career field goal with three minutes remaining for a 25-6 lead.
Sea Eagles Coach Des Hasler was very pleased with the win.
"It is great to get back to back wins and get a little bit of momentum, and take that into Newcastle next week,'' Hasler said.