Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Manly have re-affirmed their premiership ambitions with a dogged 38 points to 20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 11,905 fans at Brookvale this afternoon.
Coming into today's contest, Manly had been on a roll putting large scorelines on North Queensland and Parramatta. Gold Coast though were looking to arrest an alarming slide that had cost them their top eight spot.
In the 7th minute, Brett Stewart got the Sea Eagles off the mark with his 130th try from the backline movement that Manly had perfected to a tee.
After a glut of possession following a penalty signalling the intent for the first half, Gold Coast stripped the numbers put Kevin Gordon in.
Following the concession of that try the Manly machine clicked into gear, forcing the Titans into retreat. There was a pattern that developed with penalties turning into points almost instantly.
It started in the 24th minute with David Williams on the receiving end of a backline movement that worked to perfection. Jamie Lyon followed suit in the 29th minute from a similar move making it 16-4.
Steve Matai and Jamie Buhrer got in on the act in the 32nd and 35th minute. Matai doing the work himself from a grubber that he chased through and Buhrer ran the simple line to overpower the fullback to blow the scoreline to 24-4 just before the break.
Gold Coast showed they weren't going away with whimper as David Mead crossed from a rocket pass from Aiden Sezer. Sezer conversely put the conversion over to give us a 24-10 scoreline at the half.
The Titans had clawed their way back into the contest but shot themselves in the foot when a loose ball was dived upon by Cherry-Evans. He was held down for a professional foul by Ryan James who was sin binned.
It seemed the man disadvantage spurred the Titans on as Kevin Gordon got his second try of the afternoon from a pinpoint kick by Albert Kelly. They were back in the contest despite being down to twelve.
Manly profited from their advantage in the 57th minute as Justin Horo was too strong for the Titan's fullback after some simple catch and pass.
Once again the Titans worked back into the game albeit from a slice of luck. Aiden Sezer snapped up a Glenn Stewart kick to race the required distance to put them behind by eight and letting Manly know they couldn't canter to a victory.
A final effort from Manly with a two try salvo between the 76th and 79th minute with Nick Skinner getting his first NRL four pointer from a Foran kick that was tapped on by Justin Horo.
Jorge Taufua who is a regular on the scoresheet added his name in the shadow of full-time to finish off a splendid display by the Sea Eagles 38 points to 20.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38 Gold Coast Titans 20
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brett Stewart
2 points - Justin Horo
1 point - Jamie Lyon
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (38)
Tries: Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Steve Matai, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Nick Skinner, Jorge Taufua
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (3/8)
GOLD COAST TITANS (20)
Tries: Kevin Gordon (2), Aidan Sezer, David Mead
Conversions: Aidan Sezer (2/4)
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