A dominant forward performance helped Manly to end a seven year Origin hoodoo with a stunning 44-12 triumph against the Warriors at 4 Pines Park on Saturday night.
The Sea Eagles dominated every facet of the game virtually from the outset to storm to a 24-0 half-time lead and went on with the job in the second term to achieve their first win during the Origin period since 2015.
While captain Daly Cherry-Evans was the only Manly player on Origin duty, star fullback Tom Trbojevic is out for the season with a shoulder injury but their forwards, led by Haumole Olakau’atu, were too much to handle for the Warriors.
Olakau’atu scored an early try and carried the ball 178m in 13 first half runs, while producing nine tackle breaks, a line break and a line break assist.
Olakau'atu brutally swats away Harris-Tavita
The Manly strike second-rower finished with a game high 210 metres from 17 carries, while props Toafofoa Sipley (134m) and Martin Taupau (140m) each scored a try and ran the ball for more than 100 metres, as did Josh Aloiai (127m) and Jake Trbojevic (104m).
The win ended a three-match losing streak for the Sea Eagles, while the Warriors have now lost their last five matches.
The Warriors face the Sharks, Panthers and Roosters before finally returning to New Zealand for their first time in three years against Wests Tigers on July 3 and the home coming can't come soon enough.
Tongan enforcer Addin Fonua-Blake is sidelined with a foot injury, while the Warriors other star prop Matt Lodge has left the club and they conceded two soft tries before halftime while Bunty Afoa was in the sinbin.
Match: Sea Eagles v Warriors
Round 13 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
- The horror show started for Warriors fans in just the fourth minute when Manly prop Toafofoa Sipley dived over from dummy half to score the opening try of the match.
- Sea Eagles second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu proved too hard to handle for the Warriors defence from the outset and he received an early reward when he powered his way over for a try in the 10th minute.
Olakau'atu powers over to get the second try
- Errors and penalties ensured the Sea Eagles remained camped on their opponent's tryline and when Reuben Garrick slotted a 19th minute penalty goal, the Warriors had completed just three of six sets of possession compared to nine from nine by the home team.
- Worse was to come for the Warriors when Bunty Afoa was sin-binned in the 25th minute for holding Garrick back as he chased his own grubber into the in-goal and Sea Eagles prop Martin Taupau scored from re-start.
Taupau monsters his way through
- Manly five-eighth Josh Schuster took advantage of the one-man overlap when he bumped off four defenders to score in the 28th minute and extend Manly's lead to 24-0.
- Another Garrick penalty goal put the Sea Eagles further ahead just five minutes into the second half but it was the Warriors who scored the first try after the interval.
- Despite being denied on three occasions by desperate defence from Morgan Harper, the Warriors continued to attack Manly's left edge and Reece Walsh slipped out of a tackle to put Jack Murchie over in the 54th minute.
Determined Walsh finds Murchie
- However, any hope of a Warriors comeback was snuffed out when Garrick scored a long range try in the 61st minute.
- Playing at fullback in place of the injured Tom Trbojevic, Garrick scored his second try in the 74th minute when he pounced on a loose ball in the Warriors in-goal after a Lachlan Croker bomb bounced off the head of Rocco Berry.
- Afoa scored a consolation try in the 75th minute before Jason Saab streaked away to complete the scoring for the Sea Eagles.
Garrick and Harper blitz the Warriors
Play of the Game
Sea Eagles five-eighth Josh Schuster's 28th minute try underlined the dominance of the home side and put the result beyond doubt well before the teams entered the sheds for half time. With Bunty Afoa in the sinbin and Martin Taupau having scored, Schuster powered his way through the Warriors defence to score the try of the match.
Super Schuster scintillates for Sea Eagles
What they Said
"It has been a challenging month I guess so it was just good to get the win tonight. We realised it was important and it just puts us back on course a little bit, which is good. I feel like the effort around defence has been there, even though they had 28 against us last week. It has been our work and duty of care with the ball in hand that we haven't been good at but I thought tonight we were pretty good on both sides of the ball. We were finally able to build a bit of pressure and play a bit of field position. That will give the players and the team a lot of confidence going forward": - Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler.
Sea Eagles: Round 13
"The first half was obviously the part of the game that was horrible. It is disappointed but we can't offer any excuses, we trained well during the week. The last two performances were losses but we played some footy. We have let ourselves down with some fundamentals but we certainly didn't let ourselves down with our intent early in the game. We let ourselves down with the intent today. There is no doubt we have gone through more than anyone but to do what we did today we can't lump that on being away from home. It would be nice to give them more than just a football team to support, it would be nice to go home and give them a team with the possibility of making the eight, which would seem a long way away with what we tossed up tonight": - Warriors coach Nathan Brown.
Warriors: Round 13
The Sea Eagles travel to Campbelltown to meet Wests Tigers next Sunday, while the Warriors host the Sharks at Moreton Daily Stadium that evening.
Manly coach Des Hasler is likely to have captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans back from Origin duty with Queensland, while rookie centre Ben Trbojevic may be available to return from a shoulder injury.
Warriors coach Nathan Brown will be hoping to have Josh Curran back from a knee injury for the Sharks match, while Addin Fonua-Blake could return a week later.