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2021 NRL Round 23, Raiders 18 Sea Eagles 19 – Report

Andrew Pelechaty reviews the vital clash between Canberra and the Turbo-less Manly Warringah. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Raiders 18

Tries: Harley Smith-Shields (11), Bailey Simonsson (32), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (79)

Goals: Sam Williams (26 – pen, 34), Jordan Rapana (79)

Sea Eagles 19

Tries: Haumole Olakau’atu (42), Morgan Harper (57), Curtis Sironen (63)

Goals: Reuben Garrick (43, 58, 64)

One-Point Field Goal: Daly Cherry-Evans (78)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Moses Suli (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
2 pts – Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
1 pt – Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

It was a strong start defensively for both teams, with Manly Warringah looking to move back into the top four and Canberra needing a win to stay in top eight contention: could they also overcome their Lang Park hoodoo, with their last visit resulting in a humiliating loss to Newcastle?

While Retro Round was a couple of weeks ago, there was a touch of the mid-90s tonight, with Canberra wearing their excellent heritage jersey and Manly wearing their 90s throwback strip.

Canberra were first to score in the 11th minute with Matt Timoko (wearing lovely lime green headgear) flick passing for Harley Smith-Shields to score in the corner for a 4-0 lead.

Manly responded with territorial pressure as Canberra started making crucial errors. Not even a Captain’s Challenge could save them.

Manly soon broke Canberra with Haumole Olakau’atu scoring in the 17th minute, but it was pulled up for an obstruction. A lucky break for the Milk.

Canberra extended their lead to 6-0 after an offside penalty, with Sam Williams’ goal going in despite hitting the posts.

Canberra got a huge break when the normally reliable Reuben Garrick dropped a bomb close to his line.

It took just three tackles for Bailey Simonsson to score in the left corner off a Jack Wighton ball: last week’s combo striking again. Williams converted for a 12-0 lead.

Canberra absorbed some late Manly attacking pressure to lead 12-0 at the break.

After conceding so many double-digit leads this season, could the “Ken Behrens” Raiders hold their nerve in the second half?

HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 12 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0

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2nd Half

Manly scored first in the second half when Olakau’atu barged over, making up for his denied first half try. Garrick converted to cut Canberra’s lead to 12-6.

Canberra responded by turning their defensive pressure up to 11, continually pinning Manly on their own line. The Milk look prepared to grind this one out.

There was a big moment in the 55th minute with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad returning for the first time since Round Five.

CNK dropped the ball on his first touch, with Morgan Harper scoring after some ad-lib play from Manly. Garrick converted to tie the game at 12-12 with 20 minutes left. Again, Canberra had squandered a double-digit lead.

The momentum began to turn, with Manly forcing repeat sets, then capitalising when Curtis Sironen swooped on a Daly Cherry-Evans grubber. Garrick converted to give Manly an 18-12 lead.

Canberra missed a big scoring chance with five minutes left by kicking the ball dead.

A Cherry-Evans field goal sealed the game with two minutes left. Or so it seemed…

Then, with 30 seconds left, Canberra scored through CNK, with Jordan Rapana kicking a quick conversion.

Canberra got a boost off the restart with a penalty and Josh Schuster sin-binned, but Rapana missed the rushed field goal off the final play.

Manly temporarily move into the top four, while Canberra’s finals hopes are all but gone, needing to win their final two games, and again cursing a poor second half.

FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 18 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 19

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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