Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Match Summary Manly have ground out a solid win in wet conditions tonight at Parramatta Stadium, winning 20-16 scoring four tries to two. The Sea Eagles showed plenty of character to come from behind in the last ten minutes after being reduced to a two man bench with injuries to Steve Menzies and Michael Bani in the first half. Menzies suffered a hamstring injury in the 5th minute and Bani was taken off in the medi cab with a neck injury right on half time. To add to their injury woes Luke Williamson also came off in the 60th minute with concussion following a tackle on Eric Grothe.
The Manly wingers Bani and Robertson each bagged a first half try with credit to Eric Grothe on both occasions. Firstly Grothe undid a try saving intercept by immediately throwing a loose ball for Bani to score in the 5th minute, then he could not stop Robertson getting in behind him to score from a lovely Orford chip kick in the 16th minute.
Parramatta held a possession advantage for most of the game and also enjoyed a lopsided penalty count in their favour. Nonetheless they never looked in control but amazingly found themselves in the lead at the 61st minute after two tries in six minutes, both of them coming from kicks. Nathan Hindmarsh sent a desperate last tackle grubber towards the posts for Chad Robinson to score in the 55th minute, then six minutes later a pinpoint kick from Mateo found Luke Burt scoring next to the posts and Parramatta lead 16-14.
At this point in the game it seemed an unlikely victory was heading the Eels way as they attacked the Manly line looking for the clincher. However their structure was lacking and they could not finish it off. With six minutes left in the match Jamie Lyon bombed into open space and Josh Perry was able to gather the ball a few metres out. Manly then showed Parramatta how to finish a game off by employing a set play with L'Estrange going in to score. Parramatta coach Michael Hagan has a lot of work to do with his star-studded but under performing squad while Manly can lay claim to their season being back on track following this gutsy performance.
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Here we are at Parramatta Stadium for the Heritage Round clash between the Eels and Sea Eagles both of whom entered the comp in 1947. Parramatta are as per program. For Manly Steve Matai comes into the centres with Lyon shifting to 5/8, Williamson to the bench and Afamasaga and Hall drop off the bench. Conditions are slippery, showers all day in Sydney.
Parramatta kicks off
3 min: No mistakes yet, both teams getting to their kicks
4 min: Grothe gets away down the sideline but Brett Stewart cuts him down and into touch on the first tackle
5 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles A Perry offload sends Menzies away on a great run but Grothe gets in the way of the support to intercept, unfortunately Grothe then passes to nobody and Bani picks up the scraps to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Matt Orford successful. Manly Sea Eagles 6-0
6 min: Menzies injured in the previous play and goes up the tunnel to the dressing rooms
10 min: Penalty to Parramatta a few metres out and they are going for goal.
11 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels Manly Sea Eagles 6-2
12 min: Forward pass from dummy half by Manly on their own 40
13 min: Menzies returns to the bench with his hamstring tightly wrapped, doesn't look good for him
15 min: Mistake by Parramatta now in their own half, the rain is tumbling down
16 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles Orford chips in behind Grothe who shows a lack of urgency in getting to the ball and Michael Robertson scores in the corner. Conversion attempt by Matt Orford unsuccessful Manly Sea Eagles 10-2
19 min: Menzies not likely to return
22 min: Parra looking pedestrian at this stage
25 min: Parra on the attack but a dropped ball 5 metres out turns it over
26 min: Manly pinged for a forward pass on their 30, Parramatta on the attack again
28 min: Finch bombs and Bani cannot control it. Penalty to Parra 10 out. Now another penalty, they need to convert this possession to points
29 min: Bad pass by Finch goes to ground and Manly off the hook
32 min: Manly defending well and Parramatta look disorganised
33 min: A Manly mistake puts Parramatta on the attack in the opposition 20 yet again
34 min: Brett Stewart makes a try saver on Mateo and the ball is lost
37 min: Stewart drops a Finch bomb and Parra get a penalty in the Manly 20. Burt to kick for goal
39 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels Manly Sea Eagles 10-4
40 min: Parramatta show some desperation in attack to close out the half but are not rewarded, Bani cleans up a kick and is injured and has been down for several minutes. Bani is being taken off on the medi cab
Half time: Sea Eagles 10-4 This match is up for grabs despite the poor showing by the Eels in the first half. The rain is coming down quite steadily so the team that can control the ball best will win. Manly look like they will be playing with 15 men, Menzies and Bani suffering injuries. If Parramatta can find some structure in the second half they may well be able to finish over the top of a Manly team that looks certain to tire with the reduced bench and heavy conditions
Manly kicks off the second half
44 min: Manly get a repeat set, line dropout to come
46 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles 2nd man play out the back and Brett Stewart speeds across in the corner. Conversion attempt by Matt Orford unsuccessful Manly Sea Eagles 14-4
50 min: Going to the video ref as Manly pepper the Parramatta line with a great Orford bomb, line dropout to come
52 min: Manly get 6 more after a kick rebounds off Parramatta legs
53 min: Parramatta hold on with Manly getting plenty of ball in the danger zone
55 min: Video ref for a Parra try
55 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Parramatta playing like Browns cows, a poor Mateo bomb ends up in Nathan Hindmarsh's hands and he puts a grubber in towards the posts where Orford cannot handle and Chad Robinson scores. This could be the lucky break that Parramatta needed. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful Manly Sea Eagles 14-10
59 min: Williamson cops a heavy knock whilst tackling Grothe and he comes from the field, Manly may be down to 14 men!
61 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Magnificent banana kick from Mateo finds Luke Burt who scores in a handy position. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 16-14
67 min: Parramatta looking to finish Manly off now. A Finch kick taken by Steve Bell and he is trapped in goal
69 min: Parramatta cannot complete the set and Manly are with it
71 min: Lovely take by Luke Burt from a high bomb saves the day
74 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles A Lyon bomb finds space and Manly get 6 more 10 metres out. They play another 2nd man decoy move and Heath L'Estrange scores close to the posts. Conversion attempt by Matt Orford successful. Manly Sea Eagles 20-16
76 min: Orford finds touch close to the Parramatta line to force a scrum
78 min: Stewart spills a massive bomb from Finch but Manly clean up
79 min: Finch tries a blind side play but the ball goes to ground
Full time: Sea Eagles 20-16