Manly Sea Eagles 24
Tries: Peta Hiku 2, Jorge Taufua, Brett Stewart
Goals: Jamie Lyon 4
Field Goals: nil
Sydney Roosters 16
Tries: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Boyd Cordner, Mitchell Pearce
Goals: James Maloney 2
Field Goals: nil
A brilliant second half performance by Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart inspired Manly to a 24-16 victory over the Roosters at Brookvale Oval in front of 17,155 fans. The win sees Manly holding onto their spot atop the NRL premiership ladder.
The referees came out of the blocks with what appeared to be a concerted effort to keep these teams apart, blowing multiple penalties early on mostly to the detriment of the Roosters. Manly took advantage of the Roosters ill discipline and were able to lay on two tries through Peta Hiku and then Jorge Taufua to jump to a 10-0 lead.
As the game got beyond the 20 minute mark the referees put their whistles away and the Roosters were able to build some pressure on the Sea Eagles and put on a few tries of their own.
They came close through a cross field kick but Daniel Tupou was ruled to have his foot out while placing the ball over the line. That disappointment was short lived as Shaun Kenny-Dowall held on to a lovely short ball from Sonny Bill WIlliams and cross line. That was shortly followed shortly after when Mitchell PEarce and Boyd Cornder combined for another, James Maloney converted and the Roosters grabbed a 12-10 lead.
Daly Cherry-Evans managed to boot a 40/20 as half time dawned on the match and the Sea Eagles were able to level up through a Jamie Lyon penalty goal, the sides went into the sheds all locked up.
The first ten minutes of the second half were some of the most tiresome one could see in an NRL match, it looked more like an Origin encounter as both teams tussled for control of the game. The Roosters ended up winning the battle but struggled to to convert that pressure into points.
A last tackle kick pushed out on the full by Mitchell Pearce proved to be the ice breaker for the second half. Manly were finally able to mount some pressure and ended the raid with one of the tries of the season through Brett Stewart.
The arm wrestle resumed once more with Manly up 18-12. Both sides looked to move the ball a bit wider but neither side could find cracks in the opposition.
Frank-Paul Nuuausala finally found a gap straight through middle of the Sea Eagles defence after a quick Sonny BIll Williams play the ball, he was able to offload the ball to Pearce who outpaced Brett Stewart to the try line. James Maloney crucially failed to convert a simple opportunity and allowed Manly to maintain a two point lead.
The Sea Eagles held strong for the rest of the match. Brett Stewart made a huge tackle on Anthony Minichiello with minutes to go to get a repeat set which all but sealed the victory. The win was actually sealed when Peta Hiku crossed for his second, Brett Stewart was the man again throwing the final pass after drawing in the Roosters edge defence and giving Hiku a clear run to the line.
Brett Stewart continues his brilliant run of form and is looking better and better each week. He is certainly one of the form players of the NRL across the last month or so, if he can stay healthy the Sea Eagles will be hard to beat from here on out.
For more stories about the Sea Eagles check out the SeaEaglesBlog