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Gutsy Sea Eagles in narrow loss to Panthers

A back-and-forth battle for the lead culminated with a 24-18 defeat for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval against the Penrith Panthers today in round four of the Harold Matthews Cup.

Both sides showed their might but ultimately it was the away side that took the points despite both scoring three tries apiece in the second half.

Manly centre George Mapuuilesua opened the scoring in the left corner for a 4-0 lead after 14 minutes. The try came off a brilliant kick return from fullback Reilly Caswell. Caswell caught the ball on the 20 metre line and stepped through the defence to find himself in open space, only to be dragged down five metres from the try line.

The Panthers appeared to have scored their first try through hooker Nathanial Tolu under the posts but the visitors were denied on a shepherd call.

In the 27th minute, Penrith centre Cameron Bamblett scored the first try for his side to level the scores at 4-all. The try came from a sweeping backline, giving the centre open space to dive over the try line untouched.

On the cusp of half time, Penrith winger Jacob Kelly scored on the left edge after beating two defenders back on the inside, giving his side an 8-4 lead heading into the break.

Back-to-back sets in Penrith's territory led to Manly’s second try, with second rower Simione Laiafi using his brute strength to wrestle his way over the try line. The try was converted by utility Joshua Weightman to give Manly a 10-8 lead after 38 minutes.

Joshua Weightman provides plenty of added spark to the Sea Eagles attack
Joshua Weightman provides plenty of added spark to the Sea Eagles attack ©Alfred Naupoto (Manly Media)

Penrith bounced back four minutes later as second rower Heinz Lemoto scored off a short ball at the line, finding space to go over untouched. Winger Jacob Kelly converted to regain a 14-10 lead for his side.

The momentum stayed with the away side as Hokafonu Lemoto spun out of a tackle to score his second try in the 43rd minute. Jacob Kelly converted to extend the scoreline to 20-10.

Four minutes later and the Panthers had another through centre Cameron Bamblett, scoring his second in the corner to take the lead out to 24-10.

After a crisp shift by Manly, second rower Simione Laiafi found himself steaming down the touchline. He drew in multiple defenders to offload the ball to forward Phoenix Tauasa who scored in the corner with three minutes remaining for a 24-14 scoreline.

Reilly Caswell then scored a late try for the Sea Eagles for the 24-18 scoreline.

The Sea Eagles will be out for their first win when they take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Round 5 of the Harold Matthews Cup at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, on Saturday, March 4, from 1.30pm.


Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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