Scrappy Manly pip Eels at the death

Manly were hot favourites going into the game, following their disposal of the highly rated Rabbitohs last weekend, while the Eels were coming off a dismantling at the hands of a rampant Roosters outfit. The Sea Eagles indeed appeared deserved favourites in the first half, capitalising twice on field position that was continually gifted to them by the Eels, mostly through penalties. The first try came about from some nice lead up work by Jamie Lyon, who had moved in to play five-eighth for the injured Kieran Foran. The passes along the Manly backline eventually found Steve Matai, who strolled over in the 8th minute of play.

The Eels created plenty of opportunities themselves, with Willie Tonga and Semi Radradra in particular causing trouble down the left-hand side on multiple occasions. However Manly's toughness and experience on defence mixed with some indifferent execution from the Eels meant they couldn't crack the tryline. Their situation worsened when Manly fullback Peta Hiku darted out from dummy half after a quick play-the-ball from Lyon, beating a couple of defenders and crashing over. Lyon's conversion extended Manly's lead to 10-0. The two teams continued to trade attacking opportunities until the half time whistle sounded.

Despite some scrappy attack the Eels would have felt they were well in the game at halftime, and showed it by flying out of the blocks to start the second half. First it was Vai Toutai who opened the scoring for the Eels in the 42nd minute by latching onto a long pass from lock Kenny Edwards that had the Manly defence stretched. Then just four minutes later it was the Tonga/Radradra combination again as a nice pass from Tonga put Radradra into space, the big Fijian beating multiple tackles on the way to the tryline. Joseph Paulo was looking out-of-sorts as the Eels goalkicker and he missed the regulation conversion here, meaning Manly still held a slim lead.

Manly then bounced back and enjoyed multiple uses of the football. They were rewarded for their endeavour when Lyon followed up on a Matai tackle bust as the Sea Eagles five-eighth crashed over. His conversion extended the Manly lead to 8 points, but despite further attacking opportunities they couldn't land the knock-out blow. Then just as it appeared Manly had done enough to get home, the Eels surged back into action. First it was Radradra for his second in the 67th minute with Tonga the provider. Then in the 73rd minute came the try of the game as the Eels stunned the Brookvale faithful by taking the lead. Radradra, who had been everywhere for Parramatta, grubbered ahead for himself, then regathered and flung the ball to a trailing Jarryd Hayne in the one motion. Hayne then found Nathan Peats who crashed over. The video referees confirmed momentum had carried Peats to the line and it looked as if the Eels would be rewarded for their persistence with an unlikely win.

However, the Sea Eagles didn't give up and displayed their fighting qualities by attacking the Eels line as the clock wound down. In the end it wasn't the pass that broke the Eels line but the kick, as a Daly Cherry-Evans bomb in the 79th minute was batted back by winger Cheyse Blair. It found a waiting Matai who strolled over for his second try and more importantly the game winner. Brookvale Oval went wild as the video referee confirmed it was all legitimate and the thrilling see-saw second half came to an end.

The Sea Eagles will be happy they managed to pull that one out of the fire, but certainly won't rest on their laurels as their attack lacked its usual crispness. The Eels meanwhile, exposed Manlys defence at times, particularly on the edges where Radradra looks to be improving every game, ably assisted by Willie Tonga. They defended well in patches and showed heart to claw themselves back into the game on more than one occasion. However in the end they conceded too many penalties and paid the price for gifting a classy side like the Sea Eagles too much field position.

Match Details
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 Parramatta Eels 18

Venue: Brookvale Oval
Crowd: 14,135
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 Parramatta Eels 0 Players of the Match:
3 points - Anthony Watmough
2 points - Semi Radradra
1 point - Steve Matai

Tries: Steve Matai (2), Jamie Lyon, Peta Hiku
Field Goals:
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (3/4)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Vai Toutai, Semi Radradra (2), Nathan Peats
Field Goals:
Conversions: Joseph Paulo (1/4)
Penalty Goals: Live Commentary

Three home games to open the season for the Sea Eagles - admittedly one of them up the road at Gosford, but certainly providing them with an opportunity to open up the season on a good note. Their first Brookvale match in Round 1 saw Melbourne run them down in Golden Point before bouncing back to defeat South Sydney on the Coast. Parramatta meanwhile spanked the Warriors at home before heading across to Moore Park and being on the receiving end of a Rooster resurgence. Manly will go into this hot favourites.

TEAM NEWS - nothing eventful for the visitors, Parramatta just lose Mitchell Allgood off the bench. David Gower will step up to fill his spot. Manly, however suffer a huge blow with Kieran Foran OUT. Tony Satini replaces him at five-eighth, while Jese Sene-Lefao drops off the five man bench.

1: Manly kickoff to the Eels and we're underway here.

3: Hayne makes a 50m bust before being cut down 20m from the tryline.

4: Parramatta force a repeat set here and they'll go on attack again.

6: Manly defuse the attacking bomb and they'll get a 7 tackle set now.

7: Manly hot on attack and receive another penalty.

Scored by Steve Matai. Kick to come.

Lyon appearing to be playing at 5/8 a lot on attack here and he's helped set up Steve Matai to open the scoring here.

Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.

Jamie Lyon pushes the conversion wide from close to the touchline.

10: Parramatta have kicked out on the full from the kickoff and Manly will go right back on attack.

10: Williams looked to have had a try from a lovely Cherry-Evans grubber but the video referee ruled he didn't have control during the grounding.

11: Luke Kelly makes a bust for Parramatta but throws the ball to Cheyse Blair just 10m from the tryline.

17: Teams trading completed sets here as Lyon dribbles the ball out for a break. He's definitely playing 6 with young Satini playing right centre.

19: Justin Horo cops one on the chin and Manly will go on the attack from the resulting penalty.

20: Cherry-Evans throws a floating cutout pass to David Williams in space but it's called forward by the referees.

22: Hayne puts Hopoate into space and he strides 40m down the right touchline. The Eels run it on the last tackle and Manly are up to the task defensively.

23: Parramatta will get another attacking chance here as Jason King is penalised for hands on the ball.

24: Parramatta are throwing decent shots at Manly but the Sea Eagles are holding firm. A wayward pass spills over the touchline past Vai Toutai now.

26: A decent chip from Cherry-Evans spills into the in-goal and Hayne struggles to control it, resulting in a goalline dropout.

27: Manly attempt some quick hands but Lyons tap on drifts forward.

28: Former Sea Eagles David Gower is rocked by a quality shot from Anthony Watmough. He gets up gingerly and is penalised for not playing the ball square. Manly on attack.

29: Now Matai can't handle the pass 10m out from the tryline and another chance for Manly goes begging.

30: Few more mistakes creeping in now as Manu Ma'u spills the ball. Manly have the scrum in an attacking area.

Scored by Peta Hiku. Kick to come.

Peta Hiku capitalises on a quick play-the-ball from Jamie Lyon and races from dummy half. He had a bit of work to do but goes through Hayne and slams the ball down. The Eels finally paying the price for a 6-1 penalty count against them.

Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.

Lyon adds the extras from a handy position.

34: Cherry-Evans chips the ball out on the full but it doesn't matter as Gower has erred again in the tackle. Manly ball 40m out.

35: The Manly forwards attempt some ball-play at the line but Horo is hammered by Nathan Peats and loses the ball.

38: Super slick work from the Eels as Willie Tonga's well-timed pass puts Radradra down the left touchline. The Eels try to build on it but Manly's rushing defence saves the day again.

39: A messy set from Parra ends with Radradra chipping out on the full.

40: A beautiful chip and regather from Cherry-Evans has the crowd on their feet but he attempts another chip and Parramatta regather. That'll be halftime. Both teams had quality attacking opportunities in that first half, with Manly just being a little bit more clinical. But 10 points up, the Eels will feel they're still well in this. Join us in approximately 10 minutes for the second half.

40: Second half underway here and Manly will have first crack with the footy.

41: Hiku makes a meal of the play-the-ball and the Eels have a great opportunity.

Scored by Vai Toutai. Kick to come.

Vai Toutai opens the scoring for the Eels after a long pass from Kenny Edwards puts him in space.

Conversion attempt by Joseph Paulo unsuccessful.

The conversion from out wide is not even close from Joseph Paulo.

Scored by Semi Radradra. Kick to come.

Fantastic try from Semi Radradra and the Eels have flown out of the blocks. Tonga put him in a bit of space but the big Fijian still had plenty to do, beating three tackles on the way to the tryline.

Conversion attempt by Joseph Paulo unsuccessful.

Paulo misses again from a very handy position. Could that come back to haunt the Eels?

50: Manly receive a penalty and they have a chance to get into this second half, so far it's been all Parramatta.

53: Ballin knocks on at dummy half the the Sea Eagles waste a good attacking chance.

54: Glenn Stewart is penalised for what is a pretty soft high tackle call.

55: Hopoate threatens the Manly defensive line but they gang tackle him and push him over the sideline.

56: Penalties costing the Eels here as Manly get another free trip into their half.

58: Repeat set for Manly as Hayne bats a Matai grubber dead.

Scored by Jamie Lyon. Kick to come.

The Eels finally crack as Matai beat a tackle and turns it inside for a tailing Jamie Lyon. Not vintage Manly on attack but so far they're doing enough.

Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.

Lyon converts his own try from 5m to the left of the posts.

62: Has that try sparked Manly into action? Some nice work down the left sees Cheyse Blair sprinting away. He tries to kick in-field but it hit an Eel and spills out. Manly scrum.

64: The Eels survive this time as Toutai defuses a Cherry-Evans bomb.

67: Some razzle-dazzle from Manly on the last ends with Parramatta making a 50m bust down the left wing.

67: Going upstairs for a possible Eels try....

Scored by Semi Radradra. Kick to come.

Lovely attack from the Eels and Willie Tonga with the final offload, and Radradra is the beneficiary for his second try.

Conversion attempt by Joseph Paulo unsuccessful.

Paulo hooks this one badly once again from the left touch line.

70: Lyon kicks it dead and the Eels will get a 7 tackle set going into the final 10 minutes.

71: Hiku knocks on and the Eels will work it out from their own territory again.

72: Going upstairs for a possible ripper of an Eels try....

Scored by Nathan Peats. Kick to come.

Brilliant from the Eels. Radradra grubbers through the line, regathers and flings it to Hayne in the one motion who finds Peats who crashes over. Momentum appeared to carry him to the line and the video referee agrees.

Conversion attempt by Joseph Paulo successful.

Paulo has been kicking terribly all day but he may have got the one that matters.

76: Manly looking dangerous but Buhrer flings it into Lyon who can't handle the pass.

78: Cherry-Evans is caught in-goal but the referees have decided he was hit high. Hayne is blowing up at referee Jared Maxwell. That is indeed a bit unlucky for the Eels.

78: Double knock-on on Manly's last tackle, Parramatta first! Manly have a chance to steal back the lead here...

79: Going upstairs for a possible try, have Manly pulled it out here?

Scored by Steve Matai. Kick to come.

Heartbreak for the Eels as Blair gets a hand to a Cherry-Evans bomb. It went backwards into Matai's hands who strolls over for the game-winner.

Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.

Lyon lands the goal from the sideline as the final whistle sounds.

80: You would have to say Manly got out of jail there in what was a thrilling second half. Parramatta came back strong every time Manly looked like they would pull away, but in the end the class of Manly gets them the two competition points. Tune back in soon for the match report. Thanks for joining us!