Craig Cauchi reviews the match between St George and Manly. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Zac Lomax (7, 69), Matt Dufty (28, 66), Cody Ramsey (32), Braydon Williame (77)
Goals: Zac Lomax (9, 29, 33, 67, 70, 78)
Sea Eagles 12
Tries: Reuben Garrick (36), Daly Cherry Evans (74)
Goals: Reuben Garrick (37, 74)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Jack Bird (Dragons)
2 pts – Corey Norman (Dragons)
1 pt – Ben Hunt (Dragons)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Dragons aerial attacking weapon Zac Lomax opened up the scoring for the afternoon making a wasteful Manly pay for their early mistakes. Manly explored down their left side and were able to poke through the line a couple of times. It brought on a dominant period for the Sea Eagles with their momentum momentarily disrupted with a break by Corey Norman coming close to setting up a runaway Matt Dufty. Manly were denied a try for Daly Cherry Evans, who showed some silky soccer skills, but Manly still found it hard to break through the defence. The Dragons didn’t miss their timing on the next line break, with Tariq Sims finding Matt Dufty on the inside to score under the posts. The Dragons attack clicked into gear and with quality field position they were able to make Manly pay. Ben Hunt ran the ball on the last and found Jack Bird hitting a strong line who then offloaded for Cody Ramsey to cross in the corner. Manly broke up the Dragons momentum with a try to winger Reuben Garrick. Keiran Foran dug into the line on the last and dribbled a kick in behind with the Dragons fullback failing to clean it up.
HALF-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 18 Manly Sea Eagles 6Embed from Getty Images
Manly started the half with an error from winger Jason Saab coming close to giving the Dragons a try. The match entered a holding pattern with both sides playing low risk footy with an emphasis on getting through their sets. Manly worked hard for a repeat set and put themselves in with a chance to close the gap but were unable to crack the Dragons defence with Jack Bird stopping Moses Suli from breaking the game open. Ben Hunt controlled the next period with his kicking game and it was a dangerous tackle on one of his kicks that drew the first points of the half through a Zac Lomax penalty goal. The 14 point advantage gave the Dragons the confidence to grind out the result while Manly started searching for ways to get the attack going. Manly failed to take advantage of a repeat set and the Dragons turned it immediately into points – Corey Norman combining with Matt Dufty to extend their lead. Manly’s attempt for a short restart went out on the full and Ben Hunt made them pay for it. The captain finished the night with a grubber kick grounded by both Zac Lomax and Mikaele Ravalawa to kill any chance of a Manly comeback. The floodgates appeared ready to open with Blake Lawrie inches away from scoring his first NRL try. The Sea Eagles pegged the lead back with a try to Cherry Evans but the home crowd were back on their feet after a bone crunching hit from Mikaele Ravalawa. Manly coughed up the ball and the Dragons went through the hands for Brayden Williame to score the final try for the night.
FULL-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 38 Manly Sea Eagles 12
Ben Hunt (Dragons) – bone buise on the knee
Match Review Committee
Jack Bird (Dragons) – Grade 2 Contrary Conduct – Early Plea 1 match ban.