Nathan Smith reviews the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles’ defeat of the Parramatta Eels.
Manly hosted the Parramatta Eels at a packed Lottoland to finish off round 18. The Sea Eagles scored in only the third minute through Reuben Garrick. Parramatta had a two straight tries in the 10th and 13th minutes to Ethan Parry and Brad Takairangi; however, the joy for the western Sydney team was shortlived as Manly dominated the remainder of the first half. The superstar Tom Trbojevic kicked it off with a try in the 26th minute, which repeated his Origin II heroics by snapping the ball from Clint Gutherson’s grasp to score. This created a domino effect where Brad Parker and Addin Fonua-Blake scored in quick succession, seemingly putting the game out of Parramatta’s grasp. The second half continued in similar fashion, with Garrick scoring in the 43rd minute. He made it a hat trick in the 56th minute to put it well beyond the Eels. Late tries to Nathan Brown and Maika Sivo hid the damage, but the game was gone. Manly are firming for a potential top four spot and are very much a premiership contender in 2019, despite early reservations from most pundits.
Manly’s Top Four Chances
Manly currently sit 5th on 22 points. Two points separate them from 4th (Canberra) and 3rd (Sydney Roosters). Their run home sees them face Melbourne (twice), Newcastle, Warriors, Tigers, Canberra, and Parramatta. You can expect them to be competitive in each of those games. They are a chance for the top four, which would be a huge turnaround from a team that finished close to the bottom of the ladder in 2018.
Tom Trbojevic: Superstar
Tom Trbojevic is one of the best players in rugby league. It seems an obvious point to make, but his value to Manly cannot be understated. The turning point for the Sea Eagles was when Trbojevic snatched the ball from Gutherson’s grasp to score a try, ending Parramatta’s brief run. By game’s end, he had made 269 metres (more than anyone on the field). If Manly hold onto him and his brother, they’re going to be very successful.
Dylan Brown’s Struggles
Dylan Brown had a patchy return to first grade. He did register two try assists, however they were more the work of individual brilliance from his wingers. Unfortunately, he had a few errors or poor decisions at times when Parramatta could have otherwise capitalised. More exposure to the top grade will help him improve, however at this stage he is still a little rough around the edges.
Parramatta’s Run Home
Parramatta is fortunate to be in a position where they need a few more wins to confirm a finals spot. They face the Warriors, Dragons, Knights, Titans, Bulldogs, Broncos and Sea Eagles. Four wins should probably put them in, and there are winnable games there. It’s up to them to do it.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 36
Tries: Reuben Garrick (3), Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic, Brad Parker, Addin Fonua-Blake
Goals: Garrick 4/7
Drop Goals: N/A
Parramatta Eels 24
Tries: Ethan Parry, Brad Takarangi, Nathan Brown, Maika Sivo
Goals: Mitchell Moses 4/4
Drop Goals: N/A
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 18. Bradley Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 3. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka.
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Josh Hoffman 21. Ethan Parry 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14. Jaeman Salmon 15. Marata Niukore 16. David Gower 17. Tepai Moeroa.