The Manly Sea Eagles have pulled off an upset win on the road against the Penrith Panthers, 18-10 on a fine Saturday afternoon. The win still sees the Sea Eagles 10 points off the top eight, while the Panthers fall to fourth on the ladder.
Although the conditions suggested plenty of fast paced, clean footy, the statistics said otherwise. Manly coughed the ball up during their first two possessions, giving the Panthers great field positions early. A penalty goal opened the scoring for the Panthers, up 2-0 after five minutes.
Although Manly completed zero of their opening four sets, a Christian Crichton knock set them up with a great scoring chance, converted by the great footwork of Joel Thompson and putting the visitors up 6-2. Both sides continued to give away the ball cheaply, with a 61 and 52 per cent completion rates for the Panthers and Sea Eagles respectively. The only real chance for the homeside came in the 35th minute when Dallin Watene-Zelesniak burst through a hole in the middle of the field, putting his side up by two heading into the break.
The errors continued into the second half as James Fisher-Harris lost the ball on his opening carry, giving Manly another great chance. Tom Trbojevic flicked a great pass to Matthew Wright who score in the corner to regain the lead for the visitors. Though for the Sea Eagles, the second half delivered two injuries that could have serious ramifications on their season with Wright suffering an injured shoulder and Dylan Walker suffering a knee injury later in the 47th minute. A Nathan Cleary sin binning for a professional foul allowed Manly to score eight quick points, all through Trent Hodkinson that ultimately decided the contest. The 18-10 victory was made possible by the one man advantage late, giving Penrith their second straight loss.
Manly pull off gutsy, important win
Manly have shown glimpses of brilliance this year with away wins against the Storm and Broncos, but consistency has remained their issue. Coming off a drubbing at the hands of the Dragons, the north Sydney side were able to bounce back on the road against a title-contender. A game that was more negative than positive, the Sea Eagles seemed to have a slight advantage in mot aspects of the game throughout, and when it mattered to score eight quick points with an extra man.
Cleary sin bin proves very costly
Manly’s strong numerical finish came with a Penrith mistake, one that cost the game for the home side. Nathan Cleary committed a professional foul when he pulled Daly Cherry-Evans back on a kick and chase, sending him to the bin for 10 minutes and putting the chances of a victory in a dire state. Trent Hodkinson converted the penalty goal to put his side up by 2, before Manly were able to take advantage of field position and numbers and score through Hodkinson again to put the visitors up by eight.
A sea of inexcusable errors
A beautiful, dry afternoon it at Penrith was sure to deliver a fast-paced, mistake free contest. That was not the case as both sides committed errors throughout the contest. Manly dropped the ball off their first two sets, giving Penrith great field position early on. After 20 minutes 14 errors had been committed by both sides, leading to underwhelming completion rates at half time. It could come down to the week off, but continuous errors in good conditions is inexcusable for both sides.
Walker suffers worrying injury
The Sea Eagles have already lost Akuila Uate (season) and Jorge Taufua (8 weeks approximately) to injuries, and Matthew Wright leaving with a shoulder injury after scoring his try could deplete their outsdie back numbers more so. Only minutes later, Dylan Walker added to that list as he went down with a knee injury that would have sent tremors through the team and fans. Walker was initially cleared of an ACL injury, but the full extent is yet to be revealed as fears of it being anything major are mounting.
Sea Eagles: 18
Tries: Thompson (10m), Wright (41m), Hodkinson (69m)
Goals: Cherry-Evans 1/1, Hodkinson 2/3
Tries: Watene-Zelesniak (34m)
Goals: Maloney 3/3
Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Tyrone Peachey, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 James Maloney (c), 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 James Tamou, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 Jack Hetherington, 17 Moses Leota
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 15 Matthew Wright, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 16 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 12 Frank Winterstein, 14 Trent Hodkinson, 17 Taniela Paseka, 21 Kelepi Tanginoa