Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Fulltime score: Round 9 MANLY SEA EAGLES 34 v WESTS TIGERS 26
The Tigers opened the scoring after just four minutes before the Sea Eagles struck back in 10th minute to make it 6-all.
The Tigers dominated possession and hit the lead again. But the Sea Eagles counter-attacked to keep themselves in the match. Both sides exchanged tries with the lead changing no less than five times in the first half.
At half time, the Wests Tiger held 22-18 lead.
The Sea Eagles came out firing in the second half, turning the match around with three unanswered tries, beginning with Ben Kennedy?s third try in the 44th minute.
With 20 minutes to go, Manly held a 34-22 lead before The Tigers reduced the lead to eight points with a try to centre Paul Whatuira in the 65th minute.
Scorers: SEA EAGLES 34 Tries: Kennedy 3, Hicks, Stewart, Witt Goals: Witt 5/6 WESTS TIGERS 26 Tries: Laffranchi, Fulton, Rieck, Prince, Whatuira Goals: Hodgson 3/5
Brookvale Oval Referee: Russell Smith
Live commentary: 0 min: Fine weather at Brookvale today and a good crowd on hand. Wests Tigers kick off and its game on!
4 min: TRY - TIGERS. Anthony Laffranchi scores. Conversion Brett Hodgson is successful. Tigers 6-0
10 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES, Ben Kennedy scores. Against the run of play as its the Tigers who are dominating possession early on. Conversion to Michael Witt is OK. 6-all
15 min: Still 6-all. Tigers enjoying over 60% possession and a 4-0 penalty count in their favour.
18 min: TRY - TIGERS. Lock forward Liam Fulton scores. Conversion unsuccessful. Tigers 10-6
23 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES. Converted try to the Manly side with Ben Kennedy getting a double. Witt adds the extras. Sea Eagles 12-10
29 min: TRY - TIGERS. Winger Matthew Rieck scores. Conversion Hodgson. Tigers 16-12
32 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES. Winger Chris Hicks scores. Conversion to Witt and Manly are back in front. Sea Eagles 18-16
38 min: TRY TIGERS. Half back Scott Prince scores and now the Tigers are back in front! Conversion Hodgson. Tigers 22-18
HALF TIME: WESTS TIGERS 22 - SEA EAGLES 18 The lead has changed five times in the first half with the Tigers getting their noses in front at the break. Overall, the Tigers have enjoyed plenty of possession and probably should be leading by more while Manly are making some silly errors and giving away penalties. For the Sea Eagles, Steve Menzies, Mark Bryant and Chad Randall are tackling their hearts out. Meanwhile Menzies is adding his weight to the attack along with Ben Kennedy who has busted through on a couple of occasions. For the Tigers, Todd Payten Mark O'Neill and Liam Fulton are the pick of the forwards while Benji Marshall is making an impact from the back. Its anyone's match, but if the Tigers continue to get the same amount of ball in the second half, its hard to see Manly holding them out.
Second half underway...
44 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES. Ben Kennedy backs up and bags a hat trick, the lead is set to change for the sixth time. Conversion Witt. Sea Eagles 24-22
53 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES. Full back Brett Stewart scores as the Sea Eagles have come out firing. Conversion unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 28-22
61 min: TRY - SEA EAGLES. Michael Witt scores and converts his own try. Sea Eagles 34-22
65 min: TRY - TIGERS. Paul Whatuira scores. Conversion Hodgson unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 34-26
67 min: NEWS - Menzies goes straight through and comes within a whisker of scoring for Manly. Then Whatuira makes a bust and the Tigers almost score at the other end of the field. Great end-to-end footy.
73 min: NEWS - Tigers' skipper O'Neill looks injured (arm) after he came very close to scoring. He's OK and its back to the game. Tigers getting repeat sets. Only 8 points in it and still anyone's game!
78 min: Still 34-26 in favour of the Manly Sea Eagles and they get a penalty deep in their own half, which should secure victory.
FULL TIME: MANLY SEA EAGLES 34 - WESTS TIGERS 26 After enjoying over 60% of the ball in the first half, the Tigers saw possession swing back to their opponents and at full time, possession was only slightly favouring the Tigers. The tackle count ended up about even. An impressive performance from Manly who did well to come back after doing a mountain of tackling in the first half. For the Manly side, their back rowers were sensational with Ben Kennedy playing a blinder as did Steve Menzies and Anthony Watmough. For Wests Tigers, their best players up front were Mark O'Neill and Todd Payten. In the end, the Tigers were unable to convert the first half territorial advantage into two competition points.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Kennedy (Sea Eagles) 2 - S Menzies (Sea Eagles) 1 - A Watmough (Sea Eagles) -----------------------------------------