Fri 31 March 2017
Allianz Stadium - Crowd: 12376

Walker's on, as Sea Eagles snap Roosters streak

Dylan Walker starred as Manly Sea Eagles made it three on the trot, as they out-muscled the Roosters 18-12 in front 12,376 fans at Sydney Football Stadium

These two teams had provided some classic contests in the last few seasons and tonight was no different. Manly Sea Eagles stood blow for blow with a slick Roosters team and thanks to a double from Dylan Walker ended the Sydney Roosters unbeaten start to 2017.

Walker was a constant thorn in the Roosters side throughout the night, and the quick thinking that the centre showed to score the match winner underlines a Sea Eagles team that isn't afraid to chance their arm.

After a miserable opening two weeks from the team from the Northern Beaches, they have provided three straight clinical performances to get themselves on track and ease the pressure on coach Trent Barrett. The celebrations that followed Walker's blistering finish showed a team united under Barrett. 

The tone was set from the opening kick-off. Both forward packs ripped into each other, and Roosters pressured the Sea Eagles back three. Akuila Uate, who can be rocks and diamonds under a high ball, was safe all night and provided a glimpse into the form that earned him rep honours. 

It was Dylan Walker though, who scored 14 of the 18 Sea Eagles points tonight - that got the visitors on the board. He piloted a penalty kick over for a 2-nil lead.

Roosters hit back in the 13th minute, with a slick backline movement that has been a trademark of the opening month that gave New Zealand international Shaun Kenny-Dowall space to squeeze his effort inside the touchline. 

The Sea Eagles side that rolled over in the first two games had changed into a hardened pack. Energetic fullback Tom Trbojevic burst through the line before he floated a direct pass to Jorge Taufua to level things up at 6-6. 

Both teams played the patient game in worsening conditions, as the rain started to pelt Sydney Football Stadium. They were happy to get to their final tackle kick and wait for an error to pounce upon. 

Daniel Tupou had an unhappy night with his hands, as the rampaging winger dropped a certain try which may have handed the Roosters the victory. He also tried to get the forwards rolling during this positional battle and fumbled it.  

From the next set, Blake Green took the ball to the line before he towed it forward for a flying Walker to latch onto in slippery conditions for a tight 12-6 lead. Roosters needed some fire and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tried to provide it with his carries but the Sea Eagles forwards were a tight unit which showed in their celebrations after an error. 

The home side would find their way back into the contest through their own centre. Latrell Mitchell spotted the retreating defense, and exploded through the hole to earn a penalty. Mitch Pearce provided the finish as he muscled off four defenders to plant the ball down. Michael Gordon converted to once again, lock the contest up.

As the clock ticked down, it moved into the predictable field goal shootout. Pearce continued his woes with the drop as he missed two attempts while Cherry-Evans couldn't strike one cleanly either. 

Manly shelved the field goal, as it was Brian Kelly, the unlikely source that provided a sublime ball for Walker to sprint past the despairing defense and make it three on the trot for the rebuilding Sea Eagles. 

3. Dylan Walker

Two tries and cutch conversions to win it for Manly.

2. Akuila Uate

Safe under the high ball tonight which Roosters peppered him with tonight. Lots of run metres, a return to vintage Uate.

1. Mitchell Pearce

Tried his hardest to get the Roosters over the line with a try and solid kicking game.