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Spirited effort from Manly in HWNP debut

The scoreboard might not have been in their favour, but it was still a very proud moment for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park today.

The Sea Eagles went down 18-10 to fellow newcomers, the Parramatta Eels, in their debut in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.  

The match marked the historic debut of Manly's entry into the strong NSW open women's competition, which is just one step below the NRLW.

Parramatta had an 18 point lead after 20 minutes but weren’t able to add to the tally in the remainder of the match thanks to some impressive defence from a spirited Manly side. 

The side showed promising signs throughout the match, but unfortunately errors proved costly.

Full-back Georgia Grey scored Manly's first ever try in the 23rd minute and prop Alianna Tonuu added to the scoreboard with the only try in the second half on what was a proud day for the side. 

Centre Aleksandra Tunufai joined Tonuu as one of two players that played in the club's Week One Finals match for the Tarsha Gale Cup side. Five-eighth Matisse Bettridge also featured prominently throughout the season for the Under 19’s side. 

Gold Coast Titans NRLW players Georgia Grey, Laikha Clarke and Ngatokotoru Arakua were added to the side.

Parramatta jumped out to an early lead thanks to two quick tries in the opening stages of the match. Hooker Chelsea Makira scored in the first minute and full-back Yasmine Baker scored under the posts in the 10th minute for a 12-0 lead. 

The Eels scored their third in the 19th minute through five-eighth Tallara Bamblett after capitalising on a mistake in Manly’s half for an 18-0 scoreline. 

Full-back Georgia Grey dived over in the left corner after a quick shift to the edge and the final pass from inaugural captain Shontelle Stowers helped set up the try to cut the deficit to 18-4. 

Despite being down on the scoreboard, the Sea Eagles’ spirit was still intact as they showcased their abilities in attack and defence.  

Manly showed no fear in the 50th minute as they threw the ball around in their own in-goal in an attempt to evade the defence. After winning the ball back from the drop out, the side stormed downfield to force a drop-out thanks to a smart kick behind the defence from second-rower Makayla Eli. 

Don't argue....Laikha Clarke takes on the Eels at 4 Pines Park
Don't argue....Laikha Clarke takes on the Eels at 4 Pines Park ©Jason Dan (Manly Media)

Five minutes later and the Sea Eagles were once again on the back foot with the visitors having several repeat sets in their half. After defending for three sets, Manly dug deep and won the ball back. 

Manly scored their second try in the 56th minute to get back within touching distance of the Eels. Prop Alianna Tonu'u got the ball 10 metres out from the line and pushed off a defender with a barnstorming run to score under the posts for an 18-10 scoreline. 

Georgia Grey was named the Colormaker Industries Player of the Match.

The Sea Eagles take on the Central Coast Roosters at Woy Woy Oval in round 2 of the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership on Sunday, July 14, at 11am. 

Eels 18 (Makira, Baker, Bamblett tries; Sandford 3/3 goals) d Sea Eagles 10 (Grey, Tonu’u tries; Eli 1/2 goals) 



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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