Manly Sea-Eagles 32
Tries: Brett Stewart 2, Steve Matai, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Peta Hiku
Goals: Jamie Lyon 6
Field Goals: nil
Canterbury Bulldogs 10
Tries: Mitch Brown, Chase Stanley
Goals: Trent Hodgkinson
Field Goals: nil
A deluge of rain over the past two days across the Northern Beaches turned the Brookvale Oval surface into a mud pit for this top of the table clash. Daly Cherry-Evans made his return from injury for the Sea Eagles and led Manly to a very convincing 32-10 victory.
Anthony Watmough also made his comeback but the man everyone seemed to forget about this week, Jason King, was ruled out with a rib injury and replaced by James Hasson.
The first half hour of the game looked like a typical Sea Eagles and Bulldogs match with both teams playing to the conditions and appearing eager to make it an arm wrestle. The final ten minutes of the half was a Cherry-Evans masterclass, laying on two tries for Steve Matai and Peta Hiku. Jesse Sene Lefao scored his maiden try in the NRL, displaying a great pair of hands and sense of awareness to dive over close to the line. Manly unexpectedly went into half time up 18-6.
Shortly after half time Cherry-Evans was taken out of the game by a Sam Kasiano late legs tackle as he was kicking down field, jarring his knee as he landed he was in obvious pain as he writhed on the ground, he left the field and did not return. He later said no extra damage had been done to his knee and Geoff Toovey reiterated that point at the post match press conference, with the bye next week for Manly it will be a long nervous wait for the Queensland brains trust to see how the rehabilitation process goes.
Brett Stewart sealed the game by crossing the line twice from kicks in the second half, making the amazing look mundane as he tends to do when he is in form. This was his best game since his brother was injured all those weeks ago, he looked sharp, fast and ran the ball back with more venom than he has recently. Maybe having Des Hasler back at Brookie fired him up a bit.
The big news for the Sea Eagles will be the injuries. Along with Cherry-Evans, Jamie Lyon left the field early and was seen in the dressing room with ice on his knee, this is the exact same scenario as the Raiders game and Lyon ended up missing 2 games after that occurrence. Anthony Watmough appeared untroubled by his injury, in fact he didn’t even carry any strapping on his arm going into the game, as you would expect though it was iced up straight after the match.
The Sea Eagles head into their final bye of the season next week before the long grind towards the finals begin. Glenn Stewart could be a chance to return by then, there has been no word on his recovery status from the club but reports at the time of the injury had his return timeline at round 15 against the Sharks.
Read all the Sea Eagles news at the seaeaglesblog.com
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