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DCE Hat-Trick Helps Seibold’s Sea Eagles Sink the Bulldogs

The fresh and exciting new beginning under Manly Warringah Coach Anthony Seibold kicked off in superb style at 4 Pines Park today.

In emphatic fashion in front of a sold out crowd of 17, 278, the Sea Eagles flew high with a 31-6 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the opening round of the 2023 Telstra Premiership season.

Manly Captain Daly Cherry-Evans scored his first NRL career hat-trick while goal-kicking winger Reuben Garrick brought up 800 career points.

It was also Manly's first round one win since 2013.

The opening 10 minutes was a back-and-forth tussle between the two sides as Canterbury maintained a fair share of the possession. 

Manly centre Brad Parker and second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu were two players that put on big shots to set the scene for the gruelling match ahead. 

With 16 minutes on the clock, Manly struck for their first try of the season through none other than returning full-back Tom Trbojevic.

Trbojevic chased a bouncing grubber kick from Cherry-Evan that defelcted off a Bulldogs player, allowing for “Turbo” to toe the ball into the in-goal and dive on it for the try. Garrick converted for an early 6-0 lead. 

Following a review from the bunker four minutes later, Canterbury’s Reed Mahoney was awarded a try after he was deemed to have grounded the ball following a suspected knock-on. Five-eighth Matt Burton converted from next to the posts to level the scores at 6-all. 

A scramble in Manly’s 10 metre line in the 25th minute saw a double knock-on, with the first ruling against the Bulldogs after a strong three-man tackle from the Sea Eagles forward trio. The home side pushed upfield and were awarded a handful of set restarts at the halfway mark but couldn’t capitalise on the momentum as they turned the ball over. 

The Sea Eagles once again showed how compact they can be in defence, denying Canterbury after a number of sets at their line, culminating with several players wrapping up the ball on the last tackle to win back possession.  

With six minutes remaining, Bulldogs halfback Kyle Flanagan was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul in the lead up to a potential try for Manly. “Turbo” passed to Garrick who found space on the left wing before putting a grubber kick back in-field. As all the players chased, Flanagan pushed the chasing Trbojevic leading to the impedement. 

In the set that followed and with just under five minutes remaining, Manly took advantage of the extra man and scored on the left edge through Garrick. Second-rower Kelma Tuilagi, who made his club debut as Sea Eagle #642, set up the try with a perfectly timed pass to beat the opposing winger. Garrick converted his own try for a 12-6 scoreline. 

On the cusp of halftime, both sides were involved in a scramble that almost resulted in a try for Manly debutant Cooper Johns (#641). Canterbury winger Josh Addo-Carr attempted to offload the ball after getting on the end of a kick from Garrick but was met by a Manly wall.

Garrick grubbered in the direction of forward Ethan Bullemor, who kicked it along the ground back in-field towards the posts for the chasing Johns. Unfortunately, a Bulldogs player had got there first to ground the ball resulting in a no try call and a six-point lead for the Sea Eagles heading into the break. 

Manly were flying in the second half and found themselves on the scoresheet after just two minutes through “DCE”. The right edge players forced an error from Canterbury on their own 30 metre line and the halfback got his foot on the ball, poking it 20 metres forward with his finest soccer impression and beating out Josh Addo-Carr to ground the ball for a try. Garrick converted to push the lead out to 18-6. 

Olakau’atu was proving to be handy in both attack and in defence, putting shots on Viliami Kikau and Raymond Faitala-Mariner at one end and diving on a loose grubber kick at the other end to prevent the Bulldogs from finding the line in the 53rd minute. 

Haumole wasn’t the only Manly player putting on big hits. Centre Tolutau Koula met Bulldogs newcomer Jacob Preston with a strong tackle to welcome him to the league, forcing the ball out of his grasp in the process.  

Cherry-Evans scored his second try oin the 60th minute in fine fashion. Forward Taniela Paseka hit up the ball on his own 30 metre line with a barnstorming run to break through the defence, offloading to “Turbo” at the halfway line. Trbojevic then held the ball up long enough to draw the fullback away before passing to his captain who went over untouched. Garrick converted from in front for a 24-6 scoreline and in the process, also hit the milestone of 800 career NRL points.

With nine minutes remaining and the game sealed, Cherry-Evans got some kicking practice in and kicked a field goal from 15 metres out to take the score to 25-6.  

Cherry-Evans put the nail in the coffin at full-time, intercepting the ball at the halfway line and racing away to score his hat-trick try in front of the Lyons-Menzies Stand. Garrick converted his fifth goal from five attempts for a final scoreline of 31-6, capping off a great afternoon for the Manly faithful! 

The Sea Eagles have a bye in Round 2 before taking on the Parramatta Eels in Round 3 at 4 Pines Park on Thursday March 16 at 8pm. 

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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