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Manly hold off Rams in Sydney Shield win

Manly Leagues held off a second half fightback from Moorebank Rams to claim a 32-28 victory today in round eight of the Sydney Shield.

The Sea Eagles turned in a dominant first half performance at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, running in five tries to lead 26-0 at the break before the Rams fought back hard to get within eight points after 60 minutes.

It was Manly Leagues' second straight win and their third in six games under Coach Anthony Watmough to remain in sixth spot in their first season in the Sydney Shield.

The Sea Eagles cause was not helped by injuries to Dylan Turner in the fifth minute (sternum), Sam Kelly 49th minute (hip) and Miles Edler (HIA) in the 52nd, forcing the team to show some tremendous resilience.

Sea Eagles centre Antonio Taufa opened the scoring in the 10th minute for a 4-0 lead after combining well with winger Lachlan Burt.

Manly made it two on the bounce with a try for centre Ashton Kolinisau five minutes later for an 8-0 lead before Taufa scored his second in the 21st minute after second-rower Jake Watmough combined with Burt after a strong run for a 14-0 scoreline. 

Centre Antonio Taufa crossed for the Sea Eagles' opening try against the Rams
Centre Antonio Taufa crossed for the Sea Eagles' opening try against the Rams ©Bryden Sharp Photography

After quickly breaking out of a scrum 10 metres out from the Rams line, Manly shifted to the edge to score through Burt for a 20-0 lead with nine minutes remaining in the half. 

Kolinisau scored his second six minutes later with a strong run to beat two defenders in the corner, giving the Sea Eagles a 26-point lead at the break. 

The Rams took advantage of penalties and a poor pass from Manly to score two tries in a six-minute period. Lock Ibrahim El Cheikh scored in the 43rd minute and halfback Vincent Valentinetti scored an 80-metre intercept try six minutes later for a 26-12 scoreline. 

Moorebank lock Ibrahim El Cheikh crashed over next to the posts to score his second try in the 60th minute to take the score to 26-18. 

Halfback Jake Smith crashed past two defenders to score for Manly in the 70th minute after scooping up a loose ball from a kick challenge to extend their lead to 32-18. 

Half-back Jake Smith looks for support against the Rams
Half-back Jake Smith looks for support against the Rams ©Bryden Sharp Photography

The Rams quickly scored two tries in retaliation to set up a grandstand finish. Centre Diego Bravo-Graham dived over in the 73rd minute and winger Aisake Tukuafu crashed through the defence to score in the 79th minute for a 32-28 scoreline. 

A knock-on from the kick-off sealed the match and denied Moorebank a chance to steal victory with the Sea Eagles walking away with the two competition points. 

Manly Leagues Club take on the Ryde-Eastwood Hawks in round nine of the Sydney Shield on Sunday May 26, at 1pm, at TG Millner Field. 

Manly Leagues 32 (Tries: Taufa 10’, Kolinisau 16’, Taufa 21’, Burt 31’, Kolinisau 36’, Smith 70’. Goals: Burt 4/6) d Moorebank Rams 28 (Tries: El Cheikh 43’, Valentinetti 49’, El Cheikh 59’, Bravo-Graham 74’, Tukuafu 78’. Goals: Valentinetti 4/5) 


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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