Andrew Pelechaty reviews the opening clash of the Easter long weekend, between the struggling Sea Eagles and the ladder-leading Panthers. Here’s how the game went.
Sea Eagles 6
Tries: Cade Cust (32)
Goals: Reuben Garrick (33)
Tries: Viliame Kikau (16, 46), Brian To’o (3, 23), Moses Letoa (10), Matt Burton (62), Kurt Capewell (67), Paul Momirovski (77)
Goals: Nathan Cleary (11, 17, 25, 63, 69, 78, 79 – pen)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Viliame Kikau (Penrith)
2 pts – Nathan Cleary (Penrith)
1 pt – Brian To’o (Penrith)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Penrith started this game as hot favourites, and the Pink Panthers justified that favouritism in the first 20 minutes as Manly hurt themselves with numerous errors.
Brian To’o was the first to score in the third minute: off a scrum centre field, the Panthers went right to left, with To’o the benefactor.
Moses Leota scored seven minutes later and Nathan Cleary converted for a 10-0 lead in as many minutes.
The Panthers put on three tries in 16 minutes as Viliame Kikau scored off a deflected Jerome Luai kick, Cleary converted as Penrith kept racing the clock, let alone the Sea Eagles.
To’o scored his second try in the 23rd minute, picking up a loose ball as the Panthers went left again.
Already up 22-0, a cricket score looked on the cards before Manly, after finally getting some decent field position and a repeat set, scored through Cade Cust.
They nearly got a second try as Sean Keppie crashed over, but he knocked on over the line.
After last week’s carnage, there was some concern for Kikau as he went off with a HIA just before halftime.
Daly Cherry-Evans gave Manly another shot with a 40/20, but Penrith held on.
Leading 22-6 at halftime, could Penrith go on with the job in the second half, or would Manly claw their way back?
HALF-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 6 Penrith Panthers 22Embed from Getty Images
A returning Kikau scored his second try to extend Penrith’s lead to 26-6 as they again attacked the left. It got worse for Manly though, with Morgan Boyle going off with a dislocated right shoulder.
Manly – starting to build momentum – successfully Captain’s Challenged a knock-on call and kept the ball in attacking territory, but a Cherry-Evans knock-on hurt them.
After a small period with no points, Matt Burton – playing at centre – scored in the 62nd minute as Penrith again hit the left. Cleary converted for a 32-6 lead to seal the game (if it wasn’t sealed already).
A clever double kick-and-chase from Cleary saw Kurt Capewell cross the try line as Penrith kept the foot on the throat.
Cleary nearly got a try of his own, but knocked it on: it was a rare missed opportunity for Penrith.
Paul Momirovski scored Penrith’s eighth try of the night, reaching out to score after bring tripped over in a tackle.
Penrith made the margin an even 40 after a Cleary penalty goal.
Penrith stayed undefeated ahead of their blockbuster round five game against Canberra, while Manly remained winless and in last place.
FULL-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 6 Penrith Panthers 46
Viliame Kikau (Panthers) – passed HIA test
Morgan Boyle (Sea Eagles) – dislocated shoulder
Moses Suli (Sea Eagles) – back
Match Review Committee
Morgan Boyle (Sea Eagles) – Grade 1 Crusher Tackle – No contest – 2 match ban.