The Manly Sea Eagles have cruised to a comfortable win over the Wests Tigers, securing a 32-12 victory at Lottoland to launch themselves into the top four.
The game started on a sour note for the Tigers, after young hooker Jacob Liddle went down to a nasty knee injury in the opening five minutes. He would not return for the rest of the game. Manly were able to take advantage of the early exchanges and won the better field position. However, they were unable to crack the Tigers defense. In the 20th minute they finally made a breakthrough, when Jack Gosiewski won the race to a Daly Cherry Evans kick to put the home side up 6-0. Despite having very little possession and doing a lot of defense, the Tigers only took five minutes to strike back. Benji Marshall holding up a pass to put David Nofoaluma through a hole in the Manly line to level the scores at 6-6.
The scores didn’t stay that way for long as Jack Gosiewski nabbed his second try by running through a hole in the Tigers defense off a Cherry-Evans pass. Manly seemed to get a real spring in their step off the back off this and opened up the Tigers again soon after. They ran in another try to Dylan Walker just before halftime to extend their lead to 18-6 at the break.
The second half again saw Manly gain the ascendancy early on, but much like the first half struggled to get over the line. The Tigers didn’t have much possession but were able to hold firm defensively despite being down on troops. It took Manly until the 65th minute to finally breach the Tigers line, and when they did, they turned it into a double strike. Firstly, Jorge Taufua barged his way over from dummy-half close to the line. Secondly, not two minutes later Moses Suli crossed in the corner to extend the lead to 26-6.
The Tigers would not die wondering however as they were able to score a long distance try through Luke Brooks a few minutes later to keep Manly interested. To their credit, Manly stood up to the challenge from the Tigers and snuffed out any chances of a comeback, when Addin Fonua-Blake stormed his way over the line to seal a comfortable 32-12 win for the home side.
Injuries break Tigers hearts
Jacob Liddle was confirmed to have ruptured the MCL in his left knee after just five minutes. There’s no doubt this threw a spanner in the works for the Tigers forward rotation, with Elijah Taylor forced to play nearly 80 minutes at hooker. To rub more salt into the wound, they lost Chris McQueen to a HIA in the second half. Add this to the players the Tigers were already missing (Robbie Farah, Moses Mbye, Luke Garner) and it was always going to be a tough task to win on the road.
After playing an ordinary game against the Warriors in New Zealand last week, Manly returned to their happy hunting ground in Lottoland at Brookvale. Their record at this ground as incredible this year, and they again proved tonight they are almost unbeatable when they turn up and play to their potential at Brookvale. It’s a good sign of a strong team when players like Jack Gosiewski can walk back into the side after a long absence and score two tries.
Finals chances go down with Liddle
As if losing Robbie Farah wasn’t enough in a tough run home for the Tigers, they lost the man who was touted to replace in this game. With both their top choice dummy-halves now out for the rest of the season, the Tigers finals dreams are now in tatters. As a result, they now must win their last three games just to be an outside chance of sneaking into the top eight. That’s assuming the teams above them on the ladder drop a few games on the run home to help them out.
Manly title contenders?
With a big bounce back win this week, Manly have surged into the top four and have sounded a warning to the teams above them on the ladder. They won’t have to wait long to test themselves against the best in the competition, with their last three games coming against the Raiders away, the Storm at home and the Eels away. If there are any doubts about Manly’s contender status, those will be certainly be put to the test in the next month of footy.
Manly Sea Eagles 32
Tries: Gosiewski 2, Walker, Taufua, Suli, Fonua-Blake
Goals: Garrick 4/6
Drop Goals: n/a
Wests Tigers 12
Tries: Nofoaluma, Brooks
Goals: Momirovski 2/2
Drop Goals: n/a
Manly Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brendan Elliot 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Jake Trbojevic Bench: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Corey Waddell 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka
Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Tommy Talau 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Thomas Mikaele 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Oliver Clark 17. Chris Lawrence 12. Michael Chee-Kam 13. Ryan Matterson Bench: 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Alex Twal 20. Chris McQueen