The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have climbed to the top of the NRL ladder after a controversial start their eventual win over Wests Tigers, 40-8, at Brookvale Oval in front of 13,432.
Wests Tigers fans, captain Robbie Farah and his teammates were left fuming at match officials after David Nofoaluma was denied a certain four-pointer as he reached out for the try line. However, no video referee referral saw the try robbed from Nofoaluma in the 2nd minute.
The momentum swung dangerously against the visitors with the Sea Eagles running in 22 unanswered points in the first forty minutes. Peta Hiku awarded his try just 60 seconds after Nofoaluma was denied as Manly went 100 metres in a single set.
Hiku collected his second try just minutes later as he took a bullet pass from Kieran Foran to beat Chris Lawrence over in the western corner.
Foran followed Hiku's lead as he posted his own double as half time approached (25th and 38th minute). The Sea Eagles capitalised on poor discipline from Wests Tigers to take a 22-0 lead into the sheds.
Blake Austin came up with the greatest solo try saver of the season as he denied Jamie Buhrer from scoring a certain try as his defence prevented the ball touching the grass on five occasions.
The Sea Eagles returned to the scoring points in the 50th minute with young gun, Clint Gutherson sailing into the corner off a solid pass from Man of the Match, Kieran Foran.
The Wests Tigers showed some signs of life mid-way through the second half with Keith Lulia (58th minute) and David Nofoaluma finally getting on the board (70th minute.) The Tigers closed the gap to 20 points, Sea Eagles up 28-8 as they headed into the final 10 minutes.
Brett Stewart and Daly Cherry-Evans closed out the game with their names added to the try scorers sheet in the space of two minutes (76th and 78th minute). Manly embarrassing Wests Tigers, to equal their biggest losing margin against the boys from Brookvale.
There are some injury concerns out of this match with Pat Richards (groin) and Clint Gutherson (ankle) falling to return to the field. Justin Horo and Robbie Farah were both placed on report in the match for a crusher and dangerous tackle respectively.
The road to September doesn't get any easier for Wests Tigers with a visit to ANZ Stadium as they prepare to clash with Canterbury. Meanwhile the Sea Eagles head across the bridge to Jubilee Oval as they face St. George Illawarra on Monday Night.