Penrith Panthers 22
Tries: Josh Mansour 2, Waqa Blake, Api Koroisau
Goals: Matt Moylan 3
Field Goals: nil
Manly Sea Eagles 12
Tries: Justin Horo, Steve Matai
Goals: Pita Hiku 2
Field Goals: nil
Penrith have kept Manly at the foot of the National Rugby League table after a costly 22-12 victory at Pepper Stadium tonight.
Injury concerns to Elijah Taylor and Jamal Idris soured the night with both facing a stint on the sideline with knee problems. When Idris left the field fourteen minutes into the second half the Panthers were down 8-6 in a physical encounter.
A few minutes later the Panthers went ahead with good hands from Isaac John and Matt Moylan setting up Josh Mansour in the corner. With nineteen to play the game looked out of reach for the Sea Eagles with rookie centre Waqa Blake scoring his first try at the top level steaming onto Tyrone Peachey’s pass.
Sam McKendry’s run through the middle set up the game’s try of the night with Isaah Yeo combining with Sika Manu to send Api Koroisau over with fifteen to go and extend the lead to fourteen points.
Steve Matai returned from injury and injected some late life into the Eagles being the beneficiary of a flick pass on the inside from Cheyse Blair to set up an interesting final ten minutes. Despite being down the right end of the field it was Matai’s lost ball in the final stages that ended any hopes of a come from behind victory such as the one at Brookvale when these two sides last met.
Just like in last week’s loss to the Cowboys, Penrith opened the scoring after two minutes following an early penalty. Segeyaro and Moylan involved in setting up Josh Mansour to score in the corner.
In the next set Matt Moylan took a quick tap from the penalty and opened the Eagles through the middle, but the play broke down when the ball was lost.
Manly had their chance to respond after ten minutes but a try saving tackle by Mansour saw Kieran Foran drop the ball in sight of the line.
The visitors had their own injury problems with Tom Trbojevic leaving the field when attempting to score a try from a kick and Jesse Sene-Lafao with an AC problem.
Back to back sets of six led to Manly crossing after twenty-four minutes with Foran’s kick in goal finding Justin Horo to level scores at six-all.
The Panthers weren’t without their chances but poor execution let them down at various stages. In particular Peachey strolled through the middle and threw dummy after dummy, found Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who dropped the ball costing the Panthers a certain try with eight until half time.
Peta Hiku converted a penalty goal on the half time break to put Manly ahead by two points, slightly the better of the two teams.
Manly’s problems won’t end with injuries to Trbojevic and Sene-Lafao. Jamie Buhrer and Ligi Sao set to come under scrutiny from the Match Review Committee after a lifting tackle on Nigel Plum in the second half.
The Eagles face what will be a depleted Bulldogs side on Friday night at ANZ Stadium where they’ll be hoping to end their horror road streak dating back to August 17 2014 when they beat the Titans at Robina.
Penrith will gain confidence from this win but will need to be wary of an improved Titans side from their 40-0 victory in round 2 when both sides meet at CBUS Super Stadium next Saturday.
NothingButLeague Man of the Match: Josh Mansour