Manly punish the pink Panthers

The Manly Sea Eagles have emerged with a hard fought 20-6 win over the Penrith Panthers in front of 15,806 fans at CUA Stadium to edge a little closer to the right end of the table.

The Panthers had a disrupted start to the match with Shane Elford suffering a back injury during the warm-up, leading to a last-minute shuffle that saw Lachlan Coote starting in his place. By comparison, the Sea Eagles came out all guns blazing and quickly opened the scoring after some nice play from Matt Orford was finished off by Tony Williams for an early 6-0 lead.

The home side had plenty of chances during the first half with sloppy handling proving to be the biggest problem, but they stayed in the game with some great defence - most notably when Lachlan Coote and Gavin Cooper combined to knock David Williams into touch when the pink-bearded winger looked certain to score. The Sea Eagles extended their lead by 2 thanks to a penalty goal but a defensive lapse gave the Panthers a try right on the stroke of halftime and an 8-6 scoreline in favour of the visitors.

A slow start to the second half by the Panthers proved to be the crucial period of this contest as two quick tries to the Sea Eagles inside the first 10 minutes opened up the 20-6 lead that eventually became the final score. Ex-Cowboy Ben Farrar made an eye-catching start to his new life as a Sea Eagle by scoring the first try and making the break that led to the second. Despite their best efforts to reduce the gap, Penrith simply dropped far too much ball to let themselves threaten the scoreboard - although Lachlan Coote went very close after an intercept play but was knocked into touch by a desperate tackle from David Williams.

While neither team will move too far on the competition ladder as a result of this one, the Panthers will find themselves under all sorts of pressure to retain their Top 8 spot in the coming weeks unless they can sort out their terrible completion rate. The Sea Eagles will happily lock up another 2 points on the ladder but won