Gold Coast Titans 12
Tries: James Roberts, Kalifa Faifai Loa
Goals: Aidan Sezer 2
Field Goals: nil
Manly Sea Eagles 15
Tries: Kieran Foran, Brett Stewart
Goals: Jamie Lyon 3
Field Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans
The Sea Eagles held on to top spot of the NRL with a gritty 15-12 win over the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
The match started off promising with both teams trading sets of six in a battle for field position. The Titans ended up winning that scrap but were unable to take advantage of a glut of possession inside the Manly half to post any points.
The game finally looked alive after 30 minutes with Daly Cherry-Evans making a break down the right edge, he placed a nice grubber kick in field for Kieran Foran to pounce on, Jamie Lyon converted and the Sea Eagles took a 6-0 lead.
The Titans had one last chance to put points on the board before half time and they did thanks to some brilliance from James Roberts. Aimlessly drifting across field Roberts noted some lazy defenders at the centre of the Manly defence and turned on the after burners to slice through for an easy try under the posts.
The sides were locked up at half time 6-all.
Brett Stewart crossed for Manly’s second try in the 56th minute after Kieran Foran broke through a hapless tackle attempt by Daniel Mortimer and Jamie Lyon converted to once again put the Sea Eagles up by 6 points.
The Sea Eagles staved off their own ill discipline with the ball and some bungling efforts from the Titans to maintain their lead until the 77th minute when Cherry-Evans potted a field goal with his left boot taking their advantage to 7.
The Titans fought back after regaining a short kick off and Kalifa Faifai Loa was able to cross in the corner, after Aiden Sezer converted the try the Titans found a glimmer of hope. However, they were unable to maintain their momentum and Lyon closed out the game with a penalty goal after the full time siren and Manly recorded their 15th win of the season, 15-12.
After the match Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey was disappointed in the ball handling but proud of the defensive effort.
“I thought we blew a few opportunities, I thought in the first half just our completions were terrible, they have not been great for the last few weeks, (we) just need to tidy that up a bit and be a bit more consistent when we’ve got the ball.
“I was really pleased with our defence, it was tough, they had a lot of ball and took a lot of petrol out of us in the first half, so I was very pleased with how we hung in there.”
The Sea Eagles travel to take on Jarryd Hayne and his band of merry men at Parramatta on Friday night, they will need to lift their effort if they are to come away with two points there.