Manly Sea Eagles Try Scorers: Matai, Taufua 2, Foran, Buhrer
Goals: Lyon 3/5
North Queensland Cowboys Try Scorers: Feldt, Tate 2, Rona
Goals: Thurston 2/5
Field Goal: Thurston
A late Jamie Buhrer try stole a 26-21 win for Manly against the Cowboys as they came from behind to take the points on Friday night in a controversial victory.
North Queensland were furious with the decision to allow a Keiran Foran try which appeared to be helped by an obstruction on the Cowboys defence.
Three unanswered tries brought Manly from behind as North Queensland couldn’t hold on to their strong start.
Keiran Foran was impressive for the home side and he was at the centre of everything for Manly, including the controversy, with Brent Tate and Jonathan Thurston performing well for the Cowboys in defeat.
Steve Matai opened the scoring when he broke down the left edge off the back of a well worked move which involved Foran who was taking over the role of the missing Daly Cherry-Evans.
Thurston came up with a brilliant kick to the left corner and Kyle Feldt rose highest to claim it and put his side within two points before Brent Tate dummied his way through as they took the lead 6-10.
Tate then broke through after linking up well with Thurston as he evaded the tackle of Anthony Wattmough, who injured himself trying to make the tackle, to grab his second and take the Cowboys in at the break 6-14 ahead.
Ten minutes into the second half Manly put the ball through hands as Jorge Taufua finished the move in the corner to put the Sea Eagles right back in the game.
The Cowboys replied through Curtis Rona as the impressive Tate broke through the Manly line before offloading for fullback Morgan who in turn offloaded to the eventual scorer Rona.
Manly then started their comeback as Jorge Taufua finished off a full-length break as Brett Stewart came flying on to Matai’s inside ball before he tipped the ball on to Taufua who had the pace to cross the whitewash.
Foran was leading Manly around the park well in the absence of Cherry-Evans and he was rewarded with a try when he dummied his way over from close range to level the scores at 20-20 with just 8 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Cowboys were left reeling from the decision of the video referee to allow the Foran try despite what appeared to be an obstruction which helped open up the gap in which the half-back dummied through.
Thurston was far from happy with the referee however he put the decision behind him to kick a one-pointer whilst under pressure from defenders to edge the Cowboys ahead with 5 minutes left.
The Cowboys tried to hold on but they suffered heartache when a perfect delayed ball from Kieran Foran helped Jamie Buhrer win the game for Manly as he sent the homes fans in to celebration.
A close fought contest will not be remembered for the great rugby league on display, instead the inconsistency of the obstruction rule will be the main talking point.