The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Manly Sea Eagles 34 v Melbourne Storm 12
at Brookvale Oval
Referee: Gavin Badger
The Manly Sea Eagles have won a gutsy victory over the Melbourne Storm at Brookvale over early tonight, the home side leading from start to finish for a 34-12 victory.
The first half was marred with dropped ball from both sides but it was the Sea Eagles who took their chances scoring three tries to two in that half. The Storm had the dominant amount of possession but were unable to capitilise.
Manly opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of play when a short side move resulted in a good short ball from Monaghan onto Glenn Stewart to score in the corner.
Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors as they had a try disallowed only minutes later when Nathan Friend was correctly ruled to have performed a double movement.
The game was in the balance when Matty Orford showed NSW Origin selectors what they're missing out on, the half back setting up play for centre Steve Matai who crashed over to give Manly a 10-0 lead.
To rub salt into the wounds the Sea Eagles scored again only moments later as winger Matt Geyer dropped fumbled in his in-goal and Chris Hicks was there to grab one of the easiest tries he will ever score.
Just after halftime, the Storm were looking down the barrel of a major defeat as Orford threaded a grubber through and prop Mark Bryant was there to score under the posts for a 22-0 lead.
There was still a glimmer of hope for Melbourne as they scored a Storm special with a back line play down the right hand flank inside their own half, eventually finished off by veteran Matt Geyer.
Moments later a great inside ball from Cooper Cronk onto Steve Turner and the Storm were back within 10 with 20 minutes remaining.
However the Storm lacked their defensive power that they have enforced over the past month in the NRL eventually going down 34-12 with late tries to wingers Hicks and Stephenson for the Sea Eagles.
This is a real confidence booster for the Sea Eagles who without three of their starting forward pack members. Not to be outdone, the Storm were also without Smith, Inglis and King.
Manly Sea Eagles: 34
Tries: Mark Bryant, Chris Hicks(2), Paul Stephenson, Glenn Stewart, Steve Matai
Goals: Matt Orford 5/6
Melbourne Storm: 12
Tries: Matt Geyer, Steve Turner
Goals: Matt Geyer 2/2
By the Clock:
Two understrength sides as the Origin period begins but both are in blistering form.There has been light rain all afternoon but no rain to speak of at the time being.
Matty Orford leads out the Eagles against his former club.
5 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Good cut out pass by Monaghan who hits Glenn Stewart to score in the corner for the home side.
Orford from the sideline hooks it wide
Sea Eagles 4-0
9 min: NEWS A good break by Steve Turner,but a try is bombed out wide with a forward pass thrown.
11 min: NEWS Nathan Friend has a try disallowed as a double movement occurred.
14 min: NEWS A great break by Cooper Cronk and in the next play,the Storm force a goal line dropout.
15 min: NEWS Going to the video for a possible Storm try...
15 min: NEWS NO TRY - Chris Hicks is ruled to have forced the ball ingoal for a goalline dropout.
29 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Short pass close to the line by Orford and Matai is too hard to stop from there.
Orford kicks a beauty from the sideline.
Sea Eagles 10-0
33 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Matt Geyer makes a meal of a cross field kick into the ingoal and Chris Hicks pounces to score an important try before the break.
Orford kicks another ripper from the sideline!
Sea Eagles 16-0
40 min: NEWS Halftime - A solid effort from the Eagles in a pretty scrappy affair at Brookie.
Back Underway at Brookie.
49 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
A short grubber by Matt Orford close to the line and big Mark Bryant crashes over!
Sea Eagles 22-0
52 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Matty Geyer makes up for his mistake in the first half as the Storm go the length of the field for their try down the right hand flank.In Injury news Matai has gone off clutching at his wrist,perhaps a broken wrist for the rising star.
Geyer converts his own try.
Sea Eagles 22-6
60 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Melbourne back in this one as young halfback Cooper Cronk goes straight through,finds Steve Turner to score under the posts.
Geyer converts this one.
Sea Eagles 22-12
67 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
A bomb by Orford to the corner and the young Storm winger Samau drops the ball and Stephenson is there to seal the game for the home side.
Orford kicks it from out wide.
Sea Eagles 28-12
72 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Hicks scores his second as this game turns into a try feast.Orford stabbed a grubber through and Hicks was there to ground it just before the deadball line.
Orford kicks another from the sideline.
Sea Eagles 34-12
80 min: NEWS Fulltime here at Brookie.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)
2 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)
1 - Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles)