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Sea Eagles suffer disappointing loss to Titans

A disappointing Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 26-10 loss to the Gold Coast Titans at 4 Pines Park tonight in round nine of the Telstra Premiership.

A slow start saw the second placed Sea Eagles trail 16-2 at half-time but they couldn't reel in the Titans to end a two game winning run.

The Sea Eagles went into the game missing full-back Tom Trbojevic (groin) and five-eighth Josh Schuster (quad) through injury, but welcomed back winger Christian Tuipulotu and second-rowers Kelma Tuilagi and Karl Lawton.

The match, the 700th Manly game played at Brookvale, also marked the return of one of the Sea Eagles' favourite sons in former premiership winning five-eighth Kieran Foran, who played 196 NRL matches from 2009-15 and 2021-2022, before joining the Titans this year. He was joined by Titans team-mate in former Manly centre Brian Kelly.

Manly came within inches of scoring in the third minute after Daly Cherry-Evans rolled in an attacking grubber for a flying Jason Saab. Titans fullback AJ Brimson just managed to beat Saab to the ball, knocking it dead for a Manly dropout.

Saab was denied a second-time minutes later after being held up and bundled into touch by Kelly and Foran.

A penalty in front of the uprights gave Manly a 2-0 lead after eight minutes through centre Reuben Garrick.

A brave tackle from Brimson prevented Manly winger Christian Tuipulotu from scoring in the corner. He found himself in open air following a silky left edge shift, only to be met by a gallant Brimson.

Off the back of a gutsy defensive effort, the visitors claimed the first try in the 21st minute through winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira who dived over in the corner untouched. Titans halfback Tanah Boyd converted in the 23rd minute for a 6-2 scoreline.

Four minutes later, the Sea Eagles were dealt a heavy blow after forward Toff Sipley was sin binned for a crusher tackle. 

With a man in the sin bin, Titans second rower David Fifita chanced his arm, having a crack from dummy half. He used his brute strength to burrow his way over Manly hooker Lachlan Croker. Tanah Boyd converted for a 12-2 lead after 31 minutes.

On the stroke of half-time, Khan-Pereira claimed his second after centre Brian Kelly placed a skillful grubber on the run for his winger to score for a 16-2 lead at the break.

Brian Kelly would be denied a try by referee Ben Cummins in the 47th minute for a double movement.

Against the run of play, Cherry-Evans kicked an inch perfect 40-20 in the 50th minute. The captain then played a hand in finding a barnstorming Sean Keppie who would bulldoze his way over next to the posts. Garrick would convert in the 51st minute to create a 16-8 scoreline.

Loving it...Try time for Sean Keppie
Loving it...Try time for Sean Keppie ©NRL Photos

Garrick then converted a penalty goal to put Manly back in striking range at 16-10.

Titans winger Phillip Sami flew above his opposite number to catch a well placed Boyd chip kick to score in the corner for a 20-10 scoreline in the 62nd minute.

Gold Coast extended their lead to 12 in the 66th minute via Boyd after Haumole Olakau’atu was penalised for a head slam on opposing second rower Fifita.

The Titans' Jayden Campbell picked up a loose ball around halfway and danced his way passed Manly's defence to find utility Klese Haas who strolled over in the corner to make it 26-10.

Manly head to Suncorp Stadium for the NRL Magic Round to take on the Brisbane Broncos in a home game on Friday, May 5, at 8.05 pm.




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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