Christopher Rooney reviews the blockbuster between Manly Warringah and Melbourne. Here’s how the game went.
Sea Eagles 18
Tries: Jason Saab (35), Reuben Garrick (43, 58).
Goals: Reuben Garrick (37, 45).
Tries: Kenneath Bromwich (8), Justin Olam (47, 54), Cameron Munster (68).
Goals: Nicho Hynes (12 – pen, 29 – pen), Ryan Papenhuyzen (48, 55, 70, 73 – pen).
Player of the Year Points
3 pts – Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
1 pt – Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
The best team in the competition versus the best player in the competition: something had to give. The Sea Eagles and the Storm are no strangers to each other, as both sides have featured in a number of big matches previously and looked set for another one tonight.
The gameplan for the Storm was simple: stop Tom Trbojevic and continue to do what has been a success this season. For the Sea Eagles, throw the ball around, target their right edge, and make the Storm uncomfortable.
The first half was all the Storm. They were the first to score with Kenny Bromwich scoring his third try of the season as the Storm continued to dominate possession.
A number of penalties and six again’s, given away from the Sea Eagles, continue to help the Storm and eventually lead to a penalty goal to give the Storm an eight-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go.
The Sea Eagles were made to defend for the majority of the first half and looked unlikely to score at all until Nicho Hynes threw a pass, intended for Josh Addo-Carr, which was intercepted by Jason Saab: he ran 95 metres to score their first try of the night.
Despite all the defence from the Sea Eagles, both sides were levelled at eight points and no doubt Des Hasler would have been over the moon, while Bellamy no doubt would have let out an almighty spray.
HALF-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 8 Melbourne 8
The Storm were able to limit the impact of Tom Trbojevic in the first half, but as the second half began, he did what he did best. He was involved with two tries, four line break assists, and notched up just under 130 running metres.
The Sea Eagles were first to score with Reuben Garrick scoring a double in the second half and the momentum was all with them. But the Storm were not having any of that as Justin Olam also scored a double in the second half, making the final 20 minutes an absolute contest.
Despite scoring two tries, an error by Garrick right near their line was more than enough for Cameron Munster to score the final try of the night and extend the winning streak to 17 straight.
The Sea Eagles showed they can compete with the Storm, but will need to tighten up a few things in defence before the finals; but no doubt a top four finish for the Sea Eagles is looming.
The Storm looks even more likely to become the second team in the NRL to win back-to-back premierships, but there’s still some time to go of course.
FULL-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 18 Melbourne 28
Taniela Paseka (Sea Eagles) – ankle
Match Review Committee
to be advised