Gold Coast Titans 6
Tries: Nathaniel Peteru (79m).
Conversions: Kevin Gordon 1/1.
Manly Sea Eagles 38
Tries: Tom Trbojevic (11m, 72m), Jorge Taufua (26m, 34m), Brett Stewart (31m), Kieran Foran (45m), Willie Mason (67m).
Conversions: Jamie Lyon 5/7.
Manly’s electrifying backline clicked across the spark, keeping the Sea Eagles hopes alive as the competition quickly approaches crunch-time.
It was never going to be a Gold Coast holiday for Daly Cherry-Evans, and the reception was hostile throughout the night everytime he touched the ball. DCE was quick to stamp his influence on the match however, a brilliant piece of world from the 10 million dollar man as he threw a lovely skipout pass to rookie Tom Trbojevic in the corner for the Sea Eagles first of the night 11 minutes in. The game would decline into a lul from there however, with little action on either side of the park, until Brett Stewart decided to insert himself into the equation. At the 26th minute, with Manly on the attack Stewart went into dummyhalf and caught the Titans defenders napping as he sent big Jorge Taufua over the line for his first of the evening. 5 minutes later it was Stewart scoring one for himself, and then three minutes later a streaking Brett Stewart would unselfishly feed Taufua for his second of the evening. The game quickly disintegrated for the Titans from a grinding 4-0, to an overwhelming 20-0 at the half, Stewart’s two try assists and a try in less than 10 minutes sending the hosts to the changing room with their heads down.
Manly wasted no time picking up where they left off in the second half, Kieran Foran going over in the 45th minute to extend the Sea Eagles lead even further. From there however the game once again became subdued, the Titans not without their opportunities, but unable to truly test the Manly defence. Big Willie Mason would turn back the clock in the 67th minute, for his first try in Manly colours, followed by Trbbojevic joining the festivities for his second of the evening in the 72nd. The Titans lacklustre showing featured one bright spark, with Nathaniel Peteru scoring on debut in the 79th minute, a consolation try in terms of the result, but a special moment for the youngster.
Manly finished the night with a clinical 37/42 completions, along with 1582 metres. They missd just 18 tackles, while exposing the Titans defence with 43 missed tackles. There’s no question that Manly have one of, if not the best backline in the competition, and while the competition was weak, they showed why in this encounter. Trbojevic with two tries, Stewart with a try and two try assists, Taufua with two tries, Jamie Lyon two try assists, Steve Matai one try assist, and the halves chimed in with Foran scoring and DCE getting a try assist also. Every Manly player outside of the forwards was involved in at least one try.
The win for Manly keeps hope alive in what has been such a disappointing seaon. They now reside four points behind the top eight, but sitting in 13th they still have four sides they still have five sides they’ll need to leapfrog to get their way into finals contention, and they’ll need to continue to do their for and against, which currently sits at negative 50, some mroe favours like they did against the Titans.
The Titans too are still only four points behind the bottom of the top eight, but short on form and long on injuries hope must be dwindling among the Gold Coast fans.
Fortunately for the Titans, they’ll have the opportunity to play themselves into form this week as they take on the 16th placed Knights. The Sea Eagles pursuit however takes a much more difficult turn as they face the second placed Cowboys.
Man of the match – Brett Stewart