It was an unexpectedly one-sided match at Lottoland when the Sea Eagles hosted the Dragons on Saturday afternoon. The Dragons came out determined, and started fast, leaving Manly chasing for the entire match, though there were no signs of them catching up at any point during the game. The Dragons walked away from the match in first position on the NRL ladder, leaving Manly wondering where to go from here.
The Sea Eagles Bought the Wrong Lottery Ticket
Absolutely no luck for the Sea Eagles. They struggled significantly in both attack and defence, and were in no form to come close to the Dragons. They had hoped to make Lottoland a fortress for the side, making it one of those venues clubs dreaded attending – however if they continue to play the way they did, they’ll have no reason to worry any other clubs. They managed to get six points on the stroke of half time, in the hopes of gaining the momentum in the second half, but no luck. Jorge Taufua scored their second and last lot points for the match in the sixty-eighth minute, giving himself a double for the afternoon. Their goal line defence was quite poor, allowing one of the Dragons to score easy tries. It was overall a poor afternoon from the Manly Sea Eagles, who hope to forget this match and move on – though this may be seemingly difficult seeing as they play one of the best teams in the competition, the Melbourne Storm next Saturday afternoon.
Gareth Widdop, a Class Act
The Dragons’ five-eighth was a man on a mission yesterday, working to get the Dragons a win, and he did just that. He played brilliantly and deserved the win that he helped his team get, being one of the best players on the field during the match. He scored two tries, the first was one of the luckiest anyone’s ever seen. He kicked five from seven conversion attempts, and one field goal. He had a total of six runs and thirteen kicks, and missed only two tackles. His leadership on the field is crucial, and was highlighted throughout the entire eighty minutes of play as an important part of the overall performance from the Dragons. Widdop is currently in some of his best form, and continually shows up for his St. George Illawarra team, playing to the best of his ability and is undoubtedly a major contributor to the success that the Dragons have seen so far this season.
Another Controversial Call
In the defence of the Manly Sea Eagles, they would have been somewhat shaken by the fortuitous try scored by the Dragons in the second minute of the match, which has caused plenty of controversy – however you would think that given Manly’s recent form, they would have been able to bounce back. The try was on Manly’s right hand side, after a kick was caught by the home team. A tackle was made and dummy half was played, however no one was there to pick it up for Manly. Gareth Widdop jumped on the opportunity and scored the opening try for the Dragons. It was (of course) sent to the Bunker. In the replays, it is evident that Jason Nightingale takes out Daly Cherry-Evans and leaves him with no opportunity to take the ball from dummy half, though this is not what was considered or looked at in the Bunker. It in fact went to the Bunker to check that Widdop was square at marker before taking the ball, and he was, therefore allowing the four points to be tallied onto the Dragons scoreboard. Talk about controversial.
Manly Shouldn’t Be Discredited
Despite what appeared to be a dreadful performance from the Sea Eagles, they have been in great form throughout the season so far, and will be looking to bounce back after this thumping on home turf. Before this match, they had one three in a row and were looking to further cement themselves into the top eight. They still remain in the top eight, however this is solely based on their for and against being positive eleven. The Sea Eagles and the Dragons were basically put on death row before the season had even kicked off, with no one giving them any chance of being where they currently are in the competition – but they have definitely proven everyone wrong. This is one bump in the road for Manly and it’s a guarantee they’ll work from this as a club and be back to the form they were building upon in their three match winning streak. Their next hurdle is of course Melbourne at Lottoland, which will be a difficult task for them – however they took down the undefeated Roosters, handing them their first loss of the season, is it a possibility they could take down Melbourne?
Manly Sea Eagles 10
Tries: Jorge Taufua 2
Goals: Dylan Walker
St George-Illawarra Dragons 35
Tries: Euan Aitken 2, Gareth Widdop 2, Jack de Belin, Kurt Mann
Goals: Gareth Widdop 5
Field Goal: Gareth Widdop
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