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The Manly Sea Eagles have crafted a tough win at Brookvale today, defeating the Warriors 13-10, after trailing 6-0 at the halftime break.
The Sea Eagles claimed their fourth successive Premiership victory with a powerful second half to storm home over a Warriors side that ultimately lost it's legs in the late stages of the game.
Brett Stewart's first half, while brilliant in attack and defence, served him short as he was denied up to three tries either through great Warriors defence, or silly errors by fellow players that cost him the four pointers. His dues finally were paid after halftime as he scored the second of Manly's two quick tries between the 50th and 60th minutes to turn a six-point deficit into a 4-point lead.
New Zealand opened the scoring earlier in the match, crossing after 14 minutes through pointscoring machine Tony Martin, who converted his own try. No more points were added to the board in the first half for either side, with brutal defence and the odd basic error from both sides ensuring the scoreboard attendants would go untroubled.
The second half saw both sides come out steadily, a few sets being pushed up and down the park before Manly began winning the arm wrestle, culminating in Chris Hicks' try out wide. Jamie Lyon's conversion saw scores level, but just minutes later the sensational turnaround was complete, a great movement from Monaghan across the park to put Stewart in. Despite an easier angle, Lyon couldn't convert and the Warriors were still in with a sniff.
However, it was clear the Eagles' onslaught had taken it's toll on the visitors, and the hosts continued to dominate possession and field position. A penalty ten minutes from time gave Manly a 6-point buffer before a calmly-slotted field goal saw them go 7 points clear. From there it was a race against time for the Warriors, who were only able to take advantage of some rushed errors by Manly to post a try to bring them within three points.
Just 50 seconds remained and the Warriors options became shallow from deep in their own half, with Grant Rovelli (who played an otherwise great game) grubbering through to nobody, Chris Hicks cleaning up, and the two competition points staying at Brookvale Oval.
Best on ground was Brett Stewart, Michael Monaghan also rating a mention amongst the Manly side, with most of the forward pack turning out a sensational game, particularly in the second half, to get Manly home. The Warriors best was Grant Rovelli, his kicking game putting a lot of pressure on the Manly backs, while Tony Martin and Wade McKinnon also took it to the home side with all they had.
The Sea Eagles will head on to face a fired-up Bulldogs side next Saturday at Telstra Stadium, while New Zealand's journey continues at home against the Cowboys next Sunday afternoon.
League Unlimited Live Commentary:
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (13) Tries: Chris Hicks, Brett Stewart Field Goals: Michael Monaghan (1/1) Goals: Jamie Lyon (2/3) New Zealand Warriors (10) Tries: Tony Martin, Simon Mannering Goals: Tony Martin (1/2)
Welcome to Brookvale Oval this afternoon for this Round 4 Easter weekend clash between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Warriors. The Warriors will be looking to get back on the winners board after faltering against Melbourne last week, while Manly played scrappy football and still managed to pluck the Roosters by plenty.
A solid crowd in at Brookvale on a 'four seasons' type of day, earlier rain has now cleared but the clouds still loom.
The Warriors and Eagles have both made on change, swapping a bench player for a forward. The visitors interchange forward Sam Rapira will start, and Ruben Wiki will come off the bench, while for Manly Luke Williamson drops to the bench to allow George Rose to start, shifting the lineup back to have Glenn Stewart at lock.
Kickoff in a moment.
0 min: And it's game on!
5 min: The Warriors with the early pressure on the Manly line, already forcing a repeat set after a silly offside penalty from Manly gave them ample field position.
9 min: A reasonably fast-paced first ten minutes and Manly have had the better luck since the repeat sets - some shallow options on the last few tackles costing the visiting side dearly.
10 min: VIDEO REFEREE... possible Sea Eagles try for Brett Stewart. Checking for double movement... Decision Pending... NO TRY. The Sea Eagle fans heckle but Video Referee Phil Cooley has disallowed a Brett Stewart try and the Warriors escape with a penalty.
13 min: VIDEO REFEREE... possible Warriors try. Decision pending, checking offside and grounding. TRY for Tony Martin.
17 min: An important interchange for the Warriors, Ruben Wiki coming onto the field.
23 min: VIDEO REFEREE - possible Sea Eagles try to Brent Kite. Decision pending... NO TRY. Manly still on the attack.
27 min: Manly just plugging away at the line - the find a hole... Stewart is over! But Cummins has ruled no try without even checking upstairs, an obstruction call. Stewart looks in a bad way, injured.
POSSESSION: Warriors 51% Sea Eagles 49%
31 min: Ben Cummins on the money again, not worrying the video referee as the Warriors appear to knock the ball on over the line. Manly to come back off their own 20.
34 min: Stewart denied again, this time just falling short after a brave short-side play on tackle five. Pressure now off the visitors once again after some sustained attack.
35 min: UPDATE - Stewart as quoted above now appears to be fine, just a niggle in his leg earlier it would appear.
38 min: Smashing hit by Tuimavaive on Burns ends up knocking out the second man George Gatis. Time off for a bit as they bring him back to.
HALFTIME: Warriors 6 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0 A brilliant first half of footy, both defences grinding each other to a halt in many ways. Just the one try to speak of, some brilliance from Tony Martin securing the only points of the day. Brett Stewart and Michael Monaghan have featured strongly for the home side, but are yet to cross with the referee's blessing. The Warriors have had to defend a significant amount more, and done it superbly. In general, a good end-to-end game of footy, despite the lack of points.
Back for the second half in approximately 10 minutes.
41 min: The weather remains clear as the second half begins at Brookvale.
45 min: Silly errors and great refereeing getting the Warriors out of gaol again. Robertson appeared to have scored of a Monaghan cross-field punt, but was ruled to have pushed Warriors back Crockett in the back. Penalty Warriors.
52 min: The Warriors looking the bigger threat but neither side able to cross the line as yet. The men from New Zealand lead by six.
54 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles The Warriors finally crack and Hicks goes over for a four-pointer in the corner. Scores now level as the Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful. 6 all
60 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles A brilliant set play from Monaghan and Stewart, and the fullback finally bags a try. Four now the difference in Manly's favour as Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 10-6
66 min: Manly really lifting in intensity at home coming into the final 20 minutes, while the Warriors appear to have dropped a gear... even from four points down it looks like a long way back for the visitors.
68 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Warringah Sea Eagles A simple offside penalty just on the line gives Jamie Lyon a perfect opportunity to extend the Manly lead to six points. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 12-6
72 min: FIELD GOAL Manly Warringah Sea Eagles A no-pressure field goal for Monaghan sees Manly take a seven point lead now and the spirits of the Warriors side sink as there is now just 8 minutes remaining. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 13-6
76 min: The Warriors in with one last shot from seven points down, Lyon losing the ball from the first tackle just 20 metres out.
FULLTIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 13 Warriors 10 And Manly have held on to a 3 point victory here at Brookvale today, a quite sensational game given the low scoreline. Both sides had dominant periods, although the home side certainly had the lions share of attacking football in opposition twenties. A thrilling finish fizzled in the final minute from a dud Grant Rovelli grubber but the Warriors clearly had little petrol in the tank once the sixty minute mark had passed. A good win for the home side in the end, now undefeated after four matches.
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match: 3 Points: Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles) 2 Points: Michael Monaghan (Sea Eagles) 1 Point: Grant Rovelli (Warriors)