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Fine Tarsha Gale Cup season ends for Sea Eagles

The fine season for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the Tarsha Gale Cup came to an unfortunate end on Saturday.

The Sea Eagles went down 18-16 to the Newcastle Knights at Leichhardt Oval in Week One of the finals, their first appearance in the finals in just Manly's second season in the U19 women's competition.

Their cause was not helped after Manly lost three players through injury in the second half.

The Knights scored tries in the 42nd and 52nd minute to take the lead for the first time before holding out a last-ditch attack from Manly to walk away victors. 

After trading chances early on, the Sea Eagles scored first in the eighth minute through winger Teuwira Rameka-Keremete after a good shift for a 4-0 lead. 

Manly winger Danielle Dunlop intercepted a wayward Knights pass on her own 10 metre line in the 15th minute and streaked downfield for what looked to be a certain try. Unfortunately, the winger was chased down after a staggering 70-metre run and turned over the ball as Newcastle breathed a sigh of relief. 

Teuwira Rameka-Keremete crosses for the opening try
Teuwira Rameka-Keremete crosses for the opening try ©Matthew Long (Lock and Load Photos)

The Knights surged downfield in search of an equaliser just moments after the Sea Eagles’ near chance. Newcastle second-rower Evah McEwen dangled with the sideline as she dived for the corner, but thankfully Manly fullback Chelsea Smyth was able to get there in time to send her into touch. 

Knights lock Makaah Darcy scored next to the posts in the 21st minute with a barnstorming run to level the score at 4-all. 

The Sea Eagles struck through centre Aleksandra Tunufai to regain the lead with four minutes to play in the half. The side stormed downfield with quick taps after two penalties to put the Knights on the back foot, allowing for Tunufai to push past the defence to take the score to 10-4. 

Got there....centre Aleksandra Tunufai crosses for her try at Leichhardt Oval
Got there....centre Aleksandra Tunufai crosses for her try at Leichhardt Oval ©Matthew Long (Lock and Load Photos)

Newcastle hit back on the stroke of half-time through winger Lilly Mcnamara for a 10-8 scoreline at the break. 

Manly started the second half off in fine fashion with a try to Indiana Russell-Lia in the 37th minute. The forward took a pass at the 10-metre line and barged past three defenders to score next to the posts for a 16-8 lead. 

Too strong...forward Indiana Russell-Lia celebrates her try
Too strong...forward Indiana Russell-Lia celebrates her try ©Matthew Long (Lock and Load Photos)

After forcing an error over the tryline two minutes earlier, the Knights bounced back with a try for second-rower Fane Finau in the 42nd minute to take the score to 16-14. 

Newcastle scored through Evah McEwen in the 52nd minute to take an 18-16 lead. 

Manly’s 18th player was activated with four minutes remaining when centre Taleenza Nelson was forced from the field, with Krystal Weekes coming on hoping to provide an impact for her side. 

The Sea Eagles had one final chance to save their season after forcing an error from the Knights in the final 30 seconds.

After a scramble at the line, lock Lili Boyle kicked the ball across field to Tunufai. The centre got a hand on the ball but was unable to catch it, knocking the ball on and bringing a conclusion to the match as the siren sounded for fulltime. 

Manly finished their season with five wins and two draws from nine matches under Coach Keith Hanley.

Knights 18 (Tries: Darcy 20’, Mcnamara 29’, Finau 42’, McEwen 52’. Goals: Mcnamara 1/4) d Sea Eagles 16 (Tries: Rameka-Keremete 8’, Tunufai 26’, Russell-Lia 37’. Goals: Nicole Gray 2/3)  

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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