Bennett Ball works and goal kicking makes a difference
Just like in the Broncos/Cowboys game earlier in the week, the winning team ended up scoring less tries than their opposition but won the game through taking full advantage at all the shots at goal they were presented through penalties. With scores tied up at 6-all at the 25 minute the Sea Eagles elected to take a shot at goal to take the lead. They did it again in the second half to square things up at 16-all before scoring a try in the following set to take a 6 point advantage despite scoring the same amount of tries as the Roosters.
Poor goal-kicking has now become a recurring factor for the Roosters in losing tight games. With only 2 successful conversions for the night they found themselves chasing points they shouldn’t have needed to chase in the first place. Hastings has struggled with a quad injury lately which has restricted him from taking conversions but after piloting one over and only missing a tricky sideline conversion he’s become the man for the job and will need to put in a lot of practice to make sure when the Roosters do score they go up in 6’s.
Roosters close but not close enough
The Roosters came out of the blocks looking like a much more energized and enthusiastic team than the one seen in previous weeks. After conceding an early try, the Roosters stood strong in defence for the rest of the half and their forwards carried the ball forward with vim and vigor. Shaun Kenny-Dowall played his 200th game of first grade and had a phenomenal individual performance. Finishing the game with 2 tries, 2 line breaks, 11 tackle breaks and 192 running metres, SKD has now ran for metres than all of the Roosters forwards bar Taukeiaho.
However a stand-out performance from SKD wasn’t enough to get the Roosters over the line. Disregarding controversial try rulings and the fact they scored more tries, the Roosters energy levels dipped significantly for a 10 minute period in the 2nd half with the Sea Eagles scoring 14 points in that period which ended up winning the game for them. Things look to be slowly improving but the lack of an 80 minute effort isn’t helping things along.
The Bunker proves you still can’t get them all right
The NRL Bunker made a rather contentious decision to deny Latrell Mitchell a game winning try after it was deemed Mitchell Aubusson was offside from a kick placed by Mitchell that rebounded off a defender and into Aubusson’s hands who ran away to put Mitchell over for a try.
The on-field decision was no try and upon review of the footage the bunker made the decision that Aubusson was offside and denied the try. However it didn’t seem so clear cut as to where he was standing based on the angle presented and a bit of detective work from some online observers discovered by drawing a simple line on the screen that Aubusson was onside from the kick and the Roosters had been denied a fair try. Roosters coach Trent Robinson was fuming post-game, bluntly labelling it a bad call and well respected footy analysts like Andrew Johns were of the opinion it was a try and criticized the rule that states the referees must make an on-field decision.
Between the call of no-try on Matt Gillett in the Broncos/Cowboys game that referee boss Tony Archer later admitted was an incorrect decision, Johnathan Thurston’s no-try later in the same game and Aubusson being ruled offside with no conclusive proof has the bunker coming under a little bit of fire. As well as it has worked the opening rounds of the season it was always inevitable that some questionable decisions would still be made and shows it has a lot of room for development and improvement.
Sea Eagles overcome short turn-around
After a short 5 day turn-around from their last game the Sea Eagles put in an admirable performance missing a lot of key personnel. With first graders Steve Matai and Tom Symonds ruled out pre-game and forwards Brenton Lawrence and Martin Taupau missing through suspension the Sea Eagles had to shuffle their side around a fair bit before the first ball had been kicked. Recalling Blake Leary, Darcy Lussick and Luke Burgess to first grade with Lewis Brown shifting to centre the Sea Eagles put in a gritty, well fought game with the side they had available with a reduced recovery period.
The scheduling doesn’t get any easier for Manly though with another 5 day turnaround before facing Souths and a trip to New Zealand the week after. It’ll be a tough time for them to endure especially without the services of their million dollar man Daly Cherry Evans who is set to spend some time on the sidelines after suffering an injury late in the game.
IN THE SHEDS
Jamie Buhrer- Buhrer can’t catch a break or rather he catches far too many of them as he suffered a broken thumb 18 minutes into his first game back from a broken jaw.
Daly Cherry-Evans- DCE left the field late in the 2nd half with a leg injury as he fell hard in a tackle. Manly coach Trent Barrett commented post-game that ‘It didn’t look good’ and the initial diagnosis is he will miss up to a month of footy with a high ankle sprain.
MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
TRIES: Jorge Taufua (5m), Dylan Walker (52m), Jamie Lyon (58m)
GOALS: Jamie Lyon 5/5
TRIES: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (10m, 33m), Blake Ferguson (44m), Daniel Tupou (67m)
GOALS: Sio Siua Taukeiaho 1/3, Jackson Hastings 1/2