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REPORT | Manly Sea Eagles 13-14 Melbourne Storm

Melbourne, missing five of their key players after Origin 3 still get the job done against the Sea Eagles at Lottoland thanks to a late penalty goal.

MATCH DETAILS

This was truly a game of two halves. Manly came out firing looking to ambush an under strength Melbourne with two quick tries to Shaun Lane within the first ten minutes. The home side kept applying the pressure as Daly Cherry-Evans carried over his sublime Origin form and kept the Storm pinned down their own end, but when Melbourne finally got into attacking territory they hit back with a try from Vunivalu, before DCE slotted an easy field goal just before half time to go into the sheds up by 7.

The second half was a real arm wrestle with both teams playing for field position. Manly had a slight edge on possession (54%), had a higher completion rate, more offloads and less missed tackles but ultimately it was an unfortunate bounce of the ball that gifted the victory to Melbourne.

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FOUR POINTERS

TOUGH LUCK FOR THE SEA EAGLES

The game was decided with ten minutes to go when Manly was up 13-12. Brodie Croft put a cross field kick in for a chasing Vunivalu, who tapped it back and ended up in Manly’s hands. They play the ball but then a late penalty is blown after advice from either the touch judge or the bunker. As Vunivalu tapped it back it lightly grazes Trent Hodkinson on the head before being dived on by Joel Thompson, who was in front of Hodkinson at the point of contact. Unfortunate situation and Jake Trbojevic pleaded with the referee, but it was the correct call and the penalty is awarded to the visitors so Cam Smith kicks the penalty goal that ultimately decides the game.

YET AGAIN WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE REFS

Once again questionable ref calls impact the match. Suliasi Vunivalu scored in the corner in the 33rd minute after Melbourne go through the hands, but on replay it was quite obvious the offload from Curtis Scott was forward out of the hands. Right in front of the touch judge to make matters worse. I’m not sure on a solution to the problem of forward passes, but unless we re-evaluate the bunker ruling on forward passes or even explore using GPS in the balls to track forward passes, I’m not sure what can be done to stop the debate, but it seems to be happening more and more and fans are getting understandably frustrated.

THE STORM PRODUCTION LINE KEEPS ON ROLLING

With an amazing five players not backing up from Origin Melbourne are still able to get the win over a near full strength Manly. Billy Slater, Cameron Munster, Will Chambers, Josh Addo-Carr and Felise Kaufusi were all rested for the game while Tim Glasby, DCE and the Trbojevic brothers played through. Even with five key players they got the job done due to young guns Curtis Scott, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith, Brodie Croft and Joe Stimson standing up to show that the Storm will be threatening for the title for years to come. Sure the victory was largely due to a fresh Cameron Smith controlling the game, but nothing can be taken away from how Craig Bellamy keeps unleashing great young players after all these years.

LET’S TALK ABOUT MANLY

Manly are sitting 13th on the ladder with only 5 wins, but they looked phenomenal for the majority of the first half. Cherry-Evans, full of confidence after his recall into the Queensland camp and a fantastic game, controlled the game very well and gave the visitors little opportunity, but it was his supporting cast that really impressed.

Manase Fainu started at hooker and looked extremely dangerous out of dummy half and his speed and footwork put Shaun Lane over for his first try. He finished the game with 77 minutes played with 44 tackles, a try assist, line break, three tackles busts, three offloads and zero missed tackles. Amazing job from the young fella stepping in for the injured Apasai Koroisau. Shaun Lane played 80 minutes with two tries, four tackles busts and two offloads. Jake Trbojevic played the full 80 backing up from Wednesday night with 50 tackles, three tackle busts and 130m. A great team effort from Manly and they probably deserved the win but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.

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THE RESULT

MANLY SEA EAGLES 13
Tries: Shaun Lane 2 (6′, 10′)
Goals: Daly Cherry Evans 2 (7′, 24′)
Drop Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 38′

MELBOURNE STORM 14
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu 33′, Brodie Croft 48′
Goals: Cameron Smith 3 (34′, 49′, 71′)

SQUADS

MANLY SEA EAGLES

1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Matthew Wright
3. Moses Suli
4. Brian Kelly
5. Brad Parker
19. Tom Wright
7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c)
8. Addin Fonua-Blake
9. Manase Fainu
10. Martin Taupau
11. Joel Thompson
12. Shaun Lane
13. jake Trbojevic
14. Trent Hodkinson
15. Kelepi Tanginoa
16. Frank Winterstein
17. Taniela Paseka

MELBOURNE STORM

7. Jahrome Hughes
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
18. Cheyse Blair
4. Curtis Scott
20. Young Tonumaipea
21. Brodie Croft
22. Ryley Jacks
16. Christian Welch
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
17. Joe Stimson
12. Ryan Hoffman
13. Kenneath Bromwich
8. Jesse Bromwich
14. Brandon Smith
15. Tim Glasby
19. Tui Kamikamica

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