2022 NRL Round 20, Sea Eagles 10 Roosters 20 – Report

Shannon Meyer reviews the Roosters win over a understrength Manly at Brookvale on Thursday night.



Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10
Tries: Andrew Davey (26), Alfred Smalley (77)
Goals: Reuben Garrick 1 (28)

Sydney Roosters 20
Tries: Daniel Tupou (8), Nat Butcher (20), Joseph Manu (28)
Goals: Sam Walker 4 (4 pen, 9, 30, 45 – pen)


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After a long week of unpleasant off-field distraction this week, an actual rugby league game was played on Thursday night, and despite a big effort a greatly depleted Sea Eagles went down to the Roosters 20-10.

The Roosters got on the board early through a penalty, a high tackle in the aftermath of Manly fullback Reuben Garrick trying to save a 40-20 kick and the Roosters scooping up the loose ball and going close to scoring.

Daniel Tupou opened up the try-scoring for the Roosters before the 10 minute mark: a pair of cut-out passes to the left by the Roosters halves found the winger with empty space in front to score with ease. Sam Walker converted to make it 8-0.

Despite being down on experience, and on the receiving end of the harsher view of the referee, Manly were giving it to the Roosters in the first half. Plenty of big hits rattled their opponents, and they had a few attacking opportunities themselves without success.

But the Roosters went further ahead around the 20th minute when James Tedesco provided the perfect defence-splitting grubber close to the line and Nat Butcher was the player on the spot to get the bounce and score. Walker missed a relatively easy conversion, and the score was 12-0.

A horror moment in the 26th minute, as Lindsay Collins hit the deck after trying to tackle Morgan Boyle. He was out cold almost immediately and looked very unwell. A worry after his Origin III HIA as well.

Within the set Manly had opened their scoring through Andrew Davey, who charged through the Roosters’ defense close to the line with Daly Cherry-Evans throwing the final pass. Garrick converted to make it 12-6 with just over 10 minutes until the break.

Manly failed to field the kick-off, and within a few tackles the Roosters extended their lead again to 12 points; this time Joseph Manu drove low and hard to the line through the Manly defence. That was the last score for the half and it was 18-6 to the Roosters going into the break.

The Roosters opened their second half account with a penalty just like the first half for a steal in front of the posts. The lead was now out to 14 points.

In among the scrappy play in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, there was a nice moment in the 53rd minute when Zac Fulton (grandson of club legend Bob Fulton) made his NRL debut. He hit the ground running too, with a lot of involvement. Manly blew a big chance in the 60th minute to narrow the margin when Joseph Suaalii forced an error from Morgan Harper with a try begging.

Manly looked to have reduced the gap with 12 minutes to go through Daly Cherry-Evans’ deft soccer skills and a super offload from Kieran Foran, but was ruled out (correctly) by The Bunker. Suaalii had a spectacular try overruled by The Bunker with seven minutes to, correctly again.

The Sea Eagles got a rich reward for their efforts with three minutes to go when NRL debutant Alfred Smalley finished off a play to the left, with Foran and Morgan Harper involved. The missed conversion kept the score at 20-10, which was the full time score.

With 20 seconds to go Egan Butcher was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on James Segeyaro, and Morgan Harper received the same for his reaction to the hit.

It wasn’t much of a second half, with errors and penalties galore, and it has to be said that the Roosters were the worse of the two sides despite loads more stars and experience. Manly gave everything they had, but were just short on quality understandably.

Never before has a thin stripe on an NRL jersey caused so much drama; it was almost a relief for most rugby league fans when the game finally went ahead. But hopefully the whole experience will lead to something better for everyone involved, and it is a shame such great intention ended up the way it did.


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3 pts – Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles), 2 pts – Daniel Tupou (Roosters), 1 pt – Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)

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