Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 32-18 loss to the Victoria Thunderbolts in Cranbourne on Saturday in round 12 of the NSW Jersey Flegg Cup.
Played at Casey Field in Melbourne, the Sea Eagles went into the game in 10th place with the Thunderbolts in 11th position.
Thunderbolts prop Sheldon Diaz crashed his way through three defenders to score under the posts in the third minute for a 6-0 lead.
Manly centre Jason Smyth opened Manly’s account five minutes later when he sliced his way over out wide. Half-back Jamie Humphreys converted for a 6-all scoreline after 10 minutes.
It wasn’t until the 29th minute the next points were scored through Thunderbolts five-eighth Sione Nau who swooped on an offload from forward Adidis Karora to weave past the defence to score next to the posts for a 12-6 lead.
Manly hit back three minutes later when centre Fletcher Myers took an intercept pass on his line from Thunderbolts half-back Jonah Pezet to show blistering pace to race the length of the field to score behind the posts after the Sea Eagles were forced to dig deep under pressure in defence. Humphreys converted for a 12-all scoreline at half-time.
The Sea Eagles had full-back Kaeo Weekes placed on report two minutes into the second half for a late lifting tackle on Pezet after offloading to send lock Jared Nauma over for a try. Pezet converted his third goal for the day for an 18-12 lead.
A penalty goal to Pezet in the 44th minute stretched the lead to 20-12 before Thunderbolts hooker Cole Geyer scored eight minutes later for a 26-12 lead.
Five minutes later, the Thunderbolts were in again through winger Anisi Salani for a 32-12 lead after 60 minutes.
The Sea Eagles then scored a consolation try two minutes from full-time through five-eighth Flynn Angles-Corke for the 32-18 scoreline after some razzle dazzle play by the Sea Eagles.
The loss leaves Manly in 10th place with four wins from 10 games with the Thunderbolts moving to seventh place.
Manly now play the Sydney Roosters at 4 Pines Park on Sunday, June 5, at 12pm.