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Gutsy Sea Eagles record great win over Dragons

A spirited Manly Warringah Sea Eagles side have overcome several injuries to claim a 30-14 victory over the St George-Illawarra Dragons in round 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. 

In front of a sold-out 4 Pines Park, the Sea Eagles were made to work against a determined Dragons outfit.

With Taniela Paseka (hand) and Reuben Garrick (two HIA’s) both being ruled out in the first half, as well as an injury to Toafofoa Sipley (knee), Manly had their work cut out for them. 

Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold spoke about the side's determination as well as the leadership from a handful of players. 

Sea Eagles: Round 15

“We fought really hard; we didn’t have a lot go our way. We were under the pump a little bit, but I think they were exceptionally led by ‘Chez’ and Jake today. It’s a great afternoon for our club,” said Seibold. 

Cherry-Evans also spoke on his side's performance today, and what they can take away heading into next week. 

“I’d like to think that everyone who played through today is gonna get a lot of confidence. We’ve hopefully seen through our response that there’s a minimum standard there when it comes to the way we play (effort wise),'' he said.

"DCE” was also quick to talk about Haumole Olakau’atu, who had an exceptional game with one try, 122 metres (from 11 runs), one line break, one try assist and 23 tackles ahead of a potential second State of Origin appearance. 

“He’s been enormous for us. I don’t think Seibs (Seibold) would’ve given it to him (a leadership role) if he wasn't ready. It's all falling into place for him. He’s here long term and that’s a really good thing for this club, I think his best football is ahead of him,'' Cherry-Evans added.

The Sea Eagles trailed 10-8 at half-time, but quickly asserted dominance on the match with four tries in the second half to claim their biggest winning margin of the season so far. 

Jake Simpkin became Sea Eagle #655 following his signing from the Wests Tigers earlier this month. Second-rower Corey Waddell also made his 50th appearance for the club. 

It didn’t take long for the Sea Eagles to kick into gear with a try after only four minutes. Full-back Lehi Hopoate used his speed to slip through the defence to score his first NRL try for a 4-0 lead. 

Lehi Hopoate crosses for his first try in the NRL
Lehi Hopoate crosses for his first try in the NRL ©NRL Photos

The Dragons looked to have levelled the score four minutes later with a spectacular diving effort from winger Zac Lomax, which was thankfully overturned by the bunker due to a knock-on during the grounding. 

St George-Illawarra outsmarted Manly on their short drop-out attempt and scored in the 11th minute through hooker Jacob Liddle to level the score at 4-all. 

Momentum shifted quickly as five-eighth Kyle Flanagan scored three minutes later to give the visitors a 10-4 lead. 

Manly bounced back with a strong individual effort from Haumole Olakau’atu in the 25th minute. The second-rower took a pass from “DCE” and fended off four opposition players before grounding the ball in the corner to trail 10-8. 

It only took the Sea Eagles three minutes to give the sold-out crowd at 4 Pines Park something to cheer for. Five-eighth Luke Brooks scored under the posts off the back of a barnstorming run from utility Karl Lawton to give his side a 14-10 lead. 

The Dragons hit back four minutes later through Lomax to lock the scores up at 14-all. 

Manly hit the lead for the third time in the 53rd minute off the back of a try from second-rower Ben Trbojevic. Olakau’atu and Hopoate combined to break through the line, with the latter providing the final pass for an 18-14 scoreline. 

After seeing his brother score, Jake Trbojevic got his name on the scoresheet with a try in the 62nd minute. Cherry-Evans placed a grubber kick past the defence which sat up perfectly in-goal for Trbojevic to take the score to 24-14. 

Ethan Bullemor and Daly Cherry-Evans celebrate Jake Trbojevic's try
Ethan Bullemor and Daly Cherry-Evans celebrate Jake Trbojevic's try ©NRL Photos

Winger Jason Saab went over untouched to score the Sea Eagles’ sixth try. The ball went through the hands of several players as the side made their way down the field with ease. Another perfectly-placed grubber kick from Cherry-Evans to the corner saw Saab go over against his former side to extend the lead to 30-14. 

The Sea Eagles take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round 16 for the third of three matches at Accor Stadium, Homebush. The match kicks off at 7.35pm on Saturday, June 22. 

Sea Eagles 30 (Tries: Hopoate 4’, Olakau’atu 25’, Brooks 43’, B.Trbojevic 53’, J.Trbojevic 62’, Saab 71’. Conversions: Garrick 0/1, Cherry-Evans 3/6) d Dragons 14 (Tries Liddle 11’, Flanagan 14’, Lomax 47’. Conversions: Lomax 1/3)  

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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