It was a tough day at the office for the Manly Sea Eagles but they managed to grind out a tough 18-12 victory over a spirited Canberra Raiders outfit at Brookvale Oval in front of 15,033 fans.
A tight first half saw both sides scoring just six points, despite countless linebreaks from both sides, the final moves just weren't coming off. Dean Whare opened the home side's account after ten minutes, the Raiders hitting back on 23 minutes with Papalii barging over from close-range.
Manly started the stronger of the two sides come the second half, scoring through Dean Whare again in the 49th minute. From there the sides traded blows, four minutes later Josh Dugan wriggled over the Manly defence to put the Raiders in front 12-10, then the Sea Eagles turned it back around on 57 minutes Jamie Lyon put in a captains effort to reach a loose ball first to get his side the lead back.
Try as they might the Raiders couldn't push past the four-point deficit, which was extended to six in the final few minutes with a Jamie Lyon penalty goal.
Both sides showed plenty of positives despite lacking in execution. Manly face Brisbane in next Friday's double header while the Canberra Raiders head home to face last-placed Parramatta where they'll no doubt start favourites.
Manly Sea Eagles 18 defeated Canberra Raiders 12
National Rugby League - Round 9 - Sunday May 6, 2012 2:00pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Referees: Jared Maxwell and Tony De Las Heras
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Clayton Sharpe
Halftime: Manly Sea Eagles 6 Canberra Raiders 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Brookvale is picture perfect today, calm, warm afternoon on the Northern Beaches where reigning premiers Manly will host Canberra. Manly return to their maroon jerseys this weekend while the Raiders will wear white... which they're yet to lose in this season.
Team changes are in already - we have Manly losing David Williams, replaced by Dean Whare on the wing. Daniel Harrison will start second-row in place of Jamie Buhrer, who returns to the bench. George Rose replaces Joe Galuvao on the bench also. Canberra have dropped Bronson Harrison, which will bring Shaun Berrigan back to the bench and Jack Wighton to start in the centres.
Teams on the park, and we have action stations!
4 min: Canberra dominating field position early but the fifth tackle options thus far have been easy for Manly to deal with. Now Manly get a penalty coming out of their own end.
6 min: Manly's first attacking foray ends in panic and they hand the ball over after a cross-field kick.
9 min: Drop ball Blake Ferguson, Manly on the attack. Brookvale comes alive.
10 min: TRY
TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Scored by Dean Whare. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Ferguson's error costs his side dearly, Manly move it through the hands, Glenn Stewart creating space for Dean Whare in the right corner. Lyon converts superbly.
Manly Sea Eagles 6-0
11 min: Just like that Anthony Watmough spills it, Raiders to attack.
12 min: ... And then Manly reclaim possession. Dear oh dear.
13 min: Penalty Manly, another piggyback out of their own half.
14 min: Matai breaks down the left but the defenders converge on him and he spills it forward. Raiders scrum.
16 min: Dean Whare with a great take from a Raiders fifth tackle bomb.
18 min: Matai splits the Raiders defence right up the middle, finds Cherry-Evans inside but DCE is dragged down and offloads to a Raider. A penalty now puts the Raiders inside Manly's half.
21 min: Raiders earn consecutive sets on Manly's line.
23 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Josh Papalii. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
Manly's defence opens up surprisingly easily... McCrone puts Papalii over with a short ball near the line. Croker no trouble from beside the posts. Scores level.
26 min: Raiders field a bomb in-goal and it bounces forward off a Canberra player and Croker comes away with it. Manly baying for a penalty but you can't be offside in your own in-goal so it's play on as he gets into the field of play.
28 min: Manly earn their third penalty of the day, attacking now inside the Raiders' 40m.
30 min: Enterprising stuff down the right edge for Canberra, Blake Ferguson eventually putting a chip kick in down the park, but Brett Stewart wins the race and it's Manly's ball.
34 min: Some poor errors creeping into Manly's game, the Raiders with the ball and they now force a drop-out.
37 min: Blake Ferguson down injured in backplay, arm or wrist injury looks like the possible prognosis.
39 min: ZOOM! Watmough through the line and over, scores... but it's called back. Lussick's offload for "Choc" is ruled forward.
40 min: At the other end, Ferguson away down the touchline, he turns it inside but he's gone over the sideline thanks to some desperate Manly defence. Halftime at Brookvale - 6-all.
44 min: End to end footy to start the half until now, with the Eagles now making easy metres into Canberra territory.
46 min: Video referee and NO TRY for Manly, but they keep the pressure on with a line drop-out.
49 min: TRY
TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Scored by Dean Whare. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
Whare is over in the corner! Manly take the lead, but Lyon misses the conversion attempt.
Manly Sea Eagles 10-6
54 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Josh Dugan. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
Josh Dugan wrestles his way over the line in a bizarre manner. Croker converts and Canberra lead for the first time today.
Canberra Raiders 12-10
57 min: TRY
TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Scored by Jamie Lyon. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Lyon scores on the back of a Steve Matai linebreak, the ball goes to ground off a Canberra hand and it continues toward the in-goal for Lyon to score. He *just* converts his own try to keep his side four points ahead.
Manly Sea Eagles 16-12
61 min: Video Referee for a Raiders try but it's not given, the ball has gone marginally out earlier in the play. Manly with a scrum on their own 10m line.
64 min: Brookvale crowd is getting right behind Manly here, big metres and good fifth tackle kicks putting Canberra deep.
68 min: Manly forcing repeat sets out of Canberra now, they're definitely dominating this clash.
70 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea Eagles
Penalty goal attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Penalty right in front for the Eagles, no brainer to take the two and stretch the lead to a converted try. Lyon slots it.
Manly Sea Eagles 18-12
73 min: Raiders with a penalty here in their own half and it's a 50m touchfinder! Can the Raiders level up here?
77 min: Manly with a chance to put the result to bed, Cherry Evans toeing the ball ahead but it's too heavy. Raiders 20m restart.
79 min: Manly look to have the game wrapped up here, the Raiders will need to go 100m in 60 seconds here...
80 min: Dugan gets a 20m restart but kicks it downfield and it doesn't go out. Stewart returns with the ball.