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Manly grind out victory over Warriors
New Zealand Warriors 8 v Manly Sea Eagles 22
at Ericsson Stadium
Referees: Russell Smith
Manly have defeated New Zealand today by 22-8 in a stop-start affair at Ericsson Stadium.
The game, played before a very poor crowd of 7,888 people, was patchy throughout with constant penalties from referee Russell Smith prohibiting either side from gaining any sort of momentum.
This contest between the clubs each year has evolved into a grudge match of sorts, with neither side taking a backward step during the encounter and some players lifting for the occasion. One such player was Steve Menzies, whose defence was a highlight of the game. He will come under the scrutiny of the match review committee however, after a heavy tackle on Warriors debutant Patrick An Van was placed on report citing contact between Menzies?s shoulder and An Van?s head.
Otherwise, the match was a bit disappointing. Manly raced in a two early tries to Steve Bell and with the conversions to Matt Orford and a penalty goal, the visitors held a steady 14-point lead.
New Zealand squandered some good opportunities, with Toopi, Faumuina and Fien all making breaks. Sadly, each time a try went begging due to poor support positioning or the ball going to ground. Late in the half Manly scored a soft try to Chris Hicks and went to the sheds with a commanding 20-point lead.
After the break the Warriors rallied and began threatening the Sea Eagles? line. Tries to Tony Martin in the 54th and 66th minute gave them some hope of pulling the match out of the fire. In between, Shane Dunley had a spell in the sin bin, but New Zealand failed to capitalise with the extra man whilst constant stoppages were frustrating both clubs.
The home team were denied a try in the 58th minute which may have rescued their afternoon, with the video ref deeming an obstruction aided Brent Webb in crossing the line.
Manly then ground out the win with a mixture of good defence and lack of momentum from either team, with their only points in the second half coming from a penalty goal at the death for a high shot on Ben Kennedy.
New Zealand Warriors: 8
Tries: Tony Martin(2)
Manly Sea Eagles: 22
Tries: Chris Hicks, Steve Bell(2)
Goals: Matt Orford 5/5
By the Clock:
For the Warriors, Vatuvei and Ropati are out of the match. Faumuina to 5/8 and An Van on to the wing. Villasanti to the bench. The Sea Eagles are as per the program.
Cloudy but otherwise fine day here in Auckland.
And we're underway in the first half!
5 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
The visitors open the scoring for the day, getting a piggy back up the field thanks to a penalty from the Warriors. A simple run-around from Stewart creates the extra man for Manly and Steve Bell scores in the corner. Orford nudges it over from the sideline and the Sea Eagles take an early lead.
Sea Eagles 6-0
15 min: NEWS After a shakey start the Warriors are putting some pressure on Manly and have earned a repeat set of six. Conditions are slippery underfoot.
19 min: NEWS Manly turn things around with a great 40-20 from Monaghan. They narrowly miss an opportunity in the corner with a grubber kick too long.
21 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
A clean break straight up the middle of the field by Menzies sees a good offload for Bell backing up on the inside. He scores with the video ref deciding against a double movement. Orford converts from right in front.
Sea Eagles 12-0
27 min: NEWS Warriors fans must be pulling their hair out. In a pretty open contest, the home team has broken the Manly defensive line on 3 occasions, all resulting in poor judgement from the ball carrier when looking for support play, with a try on the cards each time. The scoreboard could look a lot different.
31 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea Eagles
Manly push further ahead with a penalty goal from Orford, 35m out straight in front. Solid lead from the visitors.
Sea Eagles 14-0
34 min: NEWS A bit of biffo as Price is tackled high by King and Kite. Some tesnion and niggle creeping into the game.
36 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Manly are in again with a soft try to Chris Hicks after some scrappy play in the middle of the park. Orford converts and the visitors have a commanding lead just prior to the break.
Sea Eagles 20-0
40 min: NEWS You'd be forgiven for thinking it's all one way traffic here at Ericsson Stadium. Whilst the Warriors haven't had a a lot of the possession they have failed to convert good breaks into points. Not so for the Sea Eagles, as they've made the most of their opportunities and lead by a handsome 20 points at the break. It will be interesting to see if the Warriors can make a game of it in the second half, or if Manly will press their dominance and run away with a big victory.
41 min: And we're underway in the second half!
45 min: NEWS A promising Warriors attacking raid ends with a dropped ball close to the line.
48 min: NEWS The Warriors are building to something here. A repeat set of six thanks to a neat kick in-goal and their attack is looking sharper.
51 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
After sustained pressure the Warriors finally get on the scoreboard through Tony Martin, who finds space on the eastern flank to post a four-pointer. He fails to convert his own try, but the Warriors are looking a lot more enthusiastic this half.
Sea Eagles 20-4
56 min: NEWS Shane Dunley in the sin bin for a professional foul.
58 min: NEWS A no-try ruling for obstruction sours things for the Warriors, who had been camped down in the Manly red zone for what seemed an eternity.
66 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Some good lead-up work from Fien sees the ball spread wide and Tony Martin finds his way over the line again, in almost the exact same place, without much room to work with. But he fails to convert from the sideline again. The Warriors look back in the hunt though.
Sea Eagles 20-8
66 min: NEWS Dunley back on the field after his stint in the bin.
72 min: NEWS A forward pass close to the line denies Ruben Wiki a try. It didn't look that forward to me...
73 min: NEWS Menzies has belted An Van in a heavy tackle close to the line. The hit has been placed on report as there was contact between Menzies's shoulder and Ah Van's head. The kid looked a bit dazed after the shot. Another penalty to the Warriors, they at least lead that contest 12-9.
76 min: NEWS Penalty count Warriors 13, Sea Eagles 10.
79 min: NEWS Crowd: 7,888. A dismal effort.
80 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea Eagles
Manly get another penalty just before full time for a high shot on Kennedy. Orford lands the gfoal from right in front and posts the visitor's only points of the second half.
Sea Eagles 22-8
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Steve Bell (Sea Eagles)
2 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)
1 - Tony Martin (Warriors)