Manly soar against the Dragons with their Origin stars stepping up in their 38-14 victory on Sunday afternoon at Lottoland .
Tom Trbojevic has wasted no time in regaining his stellar form in his return from a hamstring injury. His efforts were instrumental, along with a resilient defensive line, in helping Manly out of the slow start they were faced with. And while the Dragons came out firing to begin the match, they could only manage 8 points and once the momentum swung, it was never going to be enough. The points against them began not long after their leader, Camron McInnes left the field due to a head clash and while they only managed to cross the line twice in the first half, Manly’s attack was humming along nicely. They scored with two tries from kicks before the half-time siren giving them a lead of 10-8.
Manly started the second half in fantastic fashion with a strip leading to a Jack Gosiewski try. Playing off the back of their offloads, Manly were able to open the match off, turning another Dragons fast start into an onslaught. The Dragons were helpless to stop the work of Manly’s forwards, especially Tom Trbojevic, who assisted the next two tries from line breaks before scoring one of his own. His try came against the run of play, with Matt Dufty unable to regather a Corey Norman chip kick. The opposing fullback took full advantage when the ball fell into his hands and he raced away to score. The Dragons finished the match with a consolation try but it was helpless against a rampant Manly side, securing their place in the top eight with a 34-14 victory.
TURBO TOMMY TURNS IT ON
Tom Trbojevic was indeed in everything and it was a timely return for the NSW centre. He produced over 300 running metres, 2 try assists, and a try of his own. Last year, Tom was unlucky not to take out the player of the series in last years Origin and with his inclusion in game 2, NSW will be hoping he can reproduce this type of form.
SECOND PHASE DANGER
Manly pose a great threat to teams higher up on the ladder with the way they move the ball around. The key to breaking down the sides with structured defensive lines is through offloads and Manly’s forwards have almost perfected this aspect of their game. They got through a massive 21 offloads in this match.
A TRYING START
There’s no questioning the Dragons try scoring ability at the start or at the end of matches but a lot of what happens in between leaves a lot to be desired. The Dragons continue to let first half leads slip and if they are to challenge the top eight sides, they know that’s a big area of their game that they need to improve. It’s hard to see, especially with the amount of players being released from rep duty to add to the players already missing, how they can turn this around for the remaining of the year.
Paul McGregor came out swinging hard against his players mentality after the game this Sunday. He labelled their efforts as “not wanting to work hard enough for it,” believing that his players were taking the easy option. He brought particular attention to his bench for failing to up the tempo of the game once his starting pack came off. It will certainly be interesting to see how his players respond, especially off the back of how other teams have responded in previous weeks.
Manly Sea Eagles 34
Tries: Reuben Garrick, Dylan Walker, Jack Gosiewski, Cade Cust, Manase Fainu, Tom Trbojevic
Goals: Reuben Garrick 5/6
St George Illawarra Dragons 14
Tries: Ben Hunt, Euan Aitken
Goals: Corey Norman 3/3
Manly Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Kane Elgey 20. Haumole Olakau’atu 21. Lloyd Perrett
St George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 22. Lachlan Maranta 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 16. Korbin Sims 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jacob Host 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyson Frizell 8. Blake Lawrie 15. Reece Robson 17. Jai Field 18. Luciano Leilua