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The New Zealand Warriors have sunk to a new all-time low as they submitted with little resistance to a resurgent and enthusiastic Manly Sea Eagles outfit at Ericsson Stadium. One has to wonder what on earth is going wrong at the Warriors this year, as the team some feared would have a huge impact on the season have been playing more like a misguided Barter Card Cup side, as well as being embroiled in off-field disputes culminating in the departure of Ali Lauiti?ti.
Nothing can be taken away from Manly however, as a team who looked destined to carry out their first wooden spoon have turned in some competitive performances in recent weeks. Des Hasler obviously has a difficult task in front of him, but he?s making a real fist of things out Brookvale way.
Andrew Walker got best on ground today, despite the fact he didn?t cross the chalk, although he came close on one particular occasion. Since moving back to five-eighth, Walker has provided Manly with more direction and a better kicking game giving way to a superior field position and added pressure on teams bringing it off their own line.
But the absolute nature of the Warriors inept displays of football really give rise to plenty of questions starting with the coach. Plenty of talk has been circulating about his relationship with players and I think it?s fair to say that the team?s morale couldn?t get any worse. Let?s hope they wake up soon and start playing that footy that we all know they can.
Ericsson Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Video Referee: Phil Cooley. Touch Judges: Gavin Badger, Russell Scorers: WARRIORS Tries: Jones 2, Meli Goals: Faumuina 4/4 SEA EAGLES Tries: Torrens 2, Donald 2, Hicks, Heckenberg, Stuart Goals: Walker 7/8
By the clock:
1 min: Andrew Walker for the Sea Eagles gets us underway. Great day for footy in the Shaky Isles.
4 min: TRY - Manly. Albert Torrens crashes over in what ends up to be a rather soft try from a deep backline movement by the Sea Eagles. Good start to the game for Manly and they lead 4-0. Andrew Walker misses the conversion, score remains 4-0 in favour of the visiting side.
8 min: TRY - Warriors. Brent Webb makes a break down the left side from a run around and dishes inside for Stacey Jones to score under the posts. 4-all is the score.
9 min: Faumuina converts to take the lead for the home side. Warriors 6 Sea Eagles 4.
12 min: TRY - Warriors. Jones picks up the scraps and scores from a fumbled grubber into the in-goal area. Brent Stuart unable to gather the ball and it leads to a try for the big men from New Zealand. Faumuina adds the extras and NZ lead 12-4 over Manly.
20 min: TRY- Manly. Scott Donald scores after Michael Monaghan puts in a well weighted kick to the Warriors line from mid-field. Walker converts and the margin is now 2 points. Warriors 12 Sea Egles 10.
26 min: PENALTY GOAL - Manly. Scores are even after Walker pushes this attempt through the posts easily following an indiscretion in the play the ball area. 12-all and the game is becoming more entertaining as is goes on.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL - Warriors. Some absorbing play has seen end to end footy resulting in a penalty to the Warriors at the death of the half. Faumuina makes no mistake and the home side takes a slight advantage into the sheds at half time. Warriors 14 Sea Eagles 12.
Good footy being played. Both teams treating the match like it's their last giving little regard to the fact it a bottom of the table clash.
41 min: And we're underway in the second half through the Warriors.
45 min: TRY - Manly. Smart play from Menzies down the short right hand side sees Chris Hicks go over to take the lead for the visitors. Walker converts and the score is now 18-14 in favour of Manly.
48 min: Disallowed try to the Warriors after Lance Hohia grubbers through and nearly regathers before planting it over the line. Fair decision. Scoreline remains Manly 18 New Zealand 14.
53 min: TRY - Manly. Daniel Heckenberg scores after a bit of pressure to the Warriors line results in Walker finding the crafty prop running into a gap close to the line. Manly look to have turned the corner and could well go on with this one. Walker converts and the Sea Eagles lead by 10 points with the scoreline 24-10 in favour of the visitors.
62 min: TRY - Manly. Torrens hits a gap and bags a double as Manly really start to gain control of this game. Good break by Walker in the lead-up to the try. Walker converts and lead by 16. Manly 30 New Zealand 14
72 min: TRY - Manly. Scott Donald scores under the posts and wraps up the game from virtually nothing. A swerve and a bit of a jink hand sunk the Warriors. Walker converts and Manly lead 36-14.
75 min: TRY - Manly. Fullback Brent Stuart goes in after a bit of a roll-on to Manly, but again very little initiative in defence from the Warriors. Walker converts and the scoreline is 42-14 in favour of the Sea Eagles.
79 min: TRY - Warriors. Francis Meli scores a consolation try in the dying stages. Looked like he took out Walker, but there was probably a bit of home ground refereeing in there. Faumuina converts and takes the score to 42-20 in favour of Manly.
Manly win in convincing fashion and there are plenty of doubts lingering over the future of the Warriors.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 ? A Walker (Manly) 2 ? A Torrens (Manly) 1 ? S Donald (Manly) -----------------------------------------