Brad Inger reviews the Round 13 clash between the Sea Eagles and the Warriors at 4 Pines Park; here’s how the match went.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 44
Tries: Toafofoa Sipley (4), Haumole Olakau’atu (10), Martin Taupau (25), Josh Schuster (28), Reuben Garrick 2 (61, 72), Jason Saab (77)
Goals: Ruben Garrick 8 (5, 12, 19, 27, 44, 63, 73, 78)
New Zealand Warriors 12
Tries: Jack Murchie (53), Bunty Afoa (75)
Goals: Reece Walsh 2 (53, 75)
Sin Bin: Bunty Afoa 26
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
In a must-win match for both sides, the game started with some intense running which saw Tolutau Koula floored by a rampaging Marcelo Montoya and sent off for an HIA. An escort penalty against the Warriors on their try line handed Manly the chance they needed, scoring via former Warrior Toafofoa Sipley, who burrowed over the line at the four-minute mark.
The Sea Eagles looked dangerous with the ball in hand, and after a strong run from Haumole Olakau’atu, which saw the second rower fend Chanel Harris-Tavita off his feet, they earnt a repeat set and were over for their second try moments later when Olakau’atu crashed over after Lachlan Croker faked to the left and threw him a short ball on the right.
The Warriors were being starved of possession, but when they finally got their hands on it, they did themselves no favours with Jack Murchie dropping a Shaun Johnson short ball. Manly looked to have dropped it a few plays later but successfully Captain Challenged the call; they kicked towards Montoya on the last and were penalized for contacting the Warriors winger in the air.
The Warriors made another error on the first hit up after the penalty, with Euan Aitken losing the ball in the tackle. Manly was back in the hunt, and Olakau’atu was damaging again, flattening Montoya in a hit that saw the winger sent for an HIA. The New Zealand side gave away an escort penalty which saw Ruben Garrick extend his side’s lead by two with a penalty goal.
Manly’s dominance continued with another surge up the field before Garrick put a grubber through that he attempted to dive on but was just beaten by Wayde Egan. The Bunker took a look and deemed that Bunty Afoa had held onto Garrick, which saw the front rower sent to the bin. On the very next play, Martin Taupau took a simple hit up and found himself on the try line for Manly’s third. The Bunker was called upon again, and while it looked like the front rower had not got there, they advised that there was not enough evidence to take the try away. They continued to twist the knife, running the field’s length with a nice display of second-phase football on the next set and scoring another try when Josh Schuster crashed over in the corner.
The Warriors found themselves in Manly’s half with the ball in hand for the first time but gave away another penalty, this time for obstruction. Nothing was going the New Zealand’s side’s way, and it finally started to show some effect as the half came to a close with Montoya starting a push fight with Sean Keppe before another scuffle started in the final seconds between Morgan Harper and Dallin Watene-Zeleaniak, seeing the half end with Manly well in front with the Warriors needed a massive effort to get back into the contest.
HALF-TIME: Manly Sea Eagles 24 New Zealand Warriors 0Embed from Getty Images
The Sea Eagles continued to manhandle the Warriors straight out of the gates in the second half. Their forwards were causing plenty of headaches, and Olakau’atu carried multiple defenders for four or five metres before the Warriors illegally stripped the ball; Garrick took a penalty goal to increase the home side’s lead to 26.
The Warriors started to show some life, managing to cruise up the field with the assistance of a six again call. Wayde Egan sniped out of dummy-half and was close to scoring before the Warriors put a kick up on the last, which Murchie caught, but he was prevented from scoring in a valiant effort from Harper, keeping the visitors scoreless. Harper got involved again on the Warrior’s next set, preventing another try when he stopped Rocco Berry in the corner on the last tackle.
A Reece Walsh linebreak sprung the Warriors into life when he was able to shift the ball to Murchie, who made up for his last effort by grounding the ball. Getting points on the board added a bit more sting into the Warrior’s defence, and they managed to force a Manly error and get back into a scoring position with Walsh causing plenty of problems for Manly. A Shaun Johnson grubber earned a repeat set, but a miscommunication saw them unable to convert it into points when Johnson threw a wayward pass to Watene-Zelezniak.
Momentum swung back to the home side when Harper bolted into open space after spying Johnson napping at marker; the centre drew Walsh in before sending Garrick over for their fifth try of the night. After marching up the field, the Warriors showed some fight and spent several sets on Manly’s try line, but the defence was too strong, and eventually, the Warriors made an error when Watene-Zeleaniak dropped a Walsh pass.
The pain for Warriors fans continued when Croker put a kick up, which hit Berry in the head before being dived on by Garrick for his second try of the night; after his conversion, his 22 points became the record for most points scored by a Sea Eagle in a match against the Warriors, and there was still five minutes to go.
Josh Schuster made an error, handing the ball back to the New Zealand side, and after a strong run from Ben Murdoch-Masila, Afoa crashed over for the Warrior’s second try. They were right back in the thick of it, going all the way up the field before earning a penalty when Pompey was tackled without the ball; this saw them in great field position to add another try, but that was extinguished when Jason Saab snatched a Walsh pass, and no one was going to stop the speedster as he strolled down the field for the home sides seventh try.
With time running out, Walsh attempted a kick and chase; however, it was defused by Manly, who took the tackle as the final siren sounded, seeing the home side break a three game losing streak with a well-deserved win but see a fifth loss in a row added to the visitors in what was a poor performance.
FULL-TIME: Manly Sea Eagles 44 New Zealand Warriors 12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Haumole Olakau’atu (Sea Eagles), 2 pts – Morgan Harper (Sea Eagles), 1 pt – Reece Walsh (Warriors)
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