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The crowd at Leichhardt Oval were after no less than a win from their team, and the Tigers tried their best to deliver, but were beaten by a determined Sea Eagles side 38-30, who finally have managed to win an away game in 2003. Surprisingly, after the reputation Leichhardt Oval has for visiting sides, the Tigers are yet to post a win at home in the 2003 NRL competition.
The old clich?, a game of two halves certainly came into play for this game with the Tigers at one stage in the first half up by 24-6 with some great attacking football. The Sea Eagles defence at times was stretched and looked very tired.
Right on half time a try to Hopoate for Manly brought them closer to the Tigers, who lead at the break by 24-12.
Whatever was said at halftime certainly lifted the Sea Eagles, who managed to put 20 unanswered points onto a somewhat disorganised Tigers side, and actually take the lead 3/4 of the way through the game, 26-24.
Withers, the little halfback for the Tigers hit back with a great try to once again put the Tigers ahead, but the determination of the Sea Eagles came to the fore, and two tries later came out the victors in a very exciting match.
A stand out feature of the match was the goal kicking. Both kickers slotted 100%, something not seen very often in the games these days.
Stand out players were Randall, Menzies and Williamson who made a mountain of tackles for the Sea Eagles. Withers, Hill and Laffranchi also had very good games for the Tigers.
TIGERS 30 Tries: O'Halloran, Wilson 2, Withers 2 Goals: Covell (5/5)
SEA EAGLES 38 Tries: MacDougall, Hopoate, Lima, Donald, Randall, Williamson Goals: Walker (7/7)
Sunday 8 June 2003 3:00 PM Leichhardt Oval Referee: Shayne Hayne
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - C Randall (Sea Eagles) 2 - B Reeves (Sea Eagles) 1 - L Withers (Tigers)
By the clock:
The Tigers at home in front of their vocal fans is enough to have the opposition wary even though they are yet to win this season at Leichhardt Oval.
0 min: Kick off!
5th min: NEWS - Manly given away a couple of penalties early in the game, disrupting the flow. Both teams need to settle
7th min: TRY - O'Halloran for Tigers. Following a penalty to get them close to the their line, the Tigers brought the ball to the line. Fifth tackle and they spread it wide, including a basketball pass over the head out to the unmarked winger. Covell, from the touchline, gets a beauty conversion. Tigers 6-0
10th min: TRY - MacDougall for Manly. Menzies left to run unmarked, cuts up the defence on the sideline and gets a good ball to MacDougall who scores. Walker, from 10 metres in, gets the conversion. 6-6
14th min: NEWS - Tigers come close to scoring when the chip through hits the post. Sea Eagle's players gets the rebound
19th min: TRY - Wilson for Tigers. Wilson earlier had tackled Hopoate in goal to force the line dropout. Great forward play from the set for Fitzhenry to put the chip ahead for Wilson to dive on. Covell gets another great kick from 5 metres in from touch. Tigers 12-6
23rd min: TRY - Wilson for Tigers. Quick plays and the Tigers are hot on attack. The Manly defence is tiring, and Wilson crashes over the line on the last tackle. Covell another kick from 5 metres in, and it's a repeat of the last conversion, a pearler. Tigers 18-6
27th min: NEWS - Fitzhenry (Tigers) close to scoring when he chips over the top of the defence and regathers. Great tackle to stop him in his tracks, throws the ball back but straight to a Sea Eagle's player
34th min: TRY - Withers for Tigers. Flat play by both sides is sparked by a Terry Hill special who pops the ball inside to a sprinting Withers. No one to catch him and he gets the try. Covell finally has an easy kick and gets the extra points. Tigers 24-6
40th min: TRY - Hopoate for Sea Eagles. A scrum set for Manly near they line, and is was too easy for them to swing the ball wide to Hoppa's wing. The Tigers a little guilty of waiting for the break. Walker from very close to the sideline, gets another tough kick. Tigers 24-12
HALF TIME: A one sided affair at present. The Sea Eagles ready for the break
Stats at the break: The Tigers have completed 19 of 21 sets while the Sea Eagles have completed 10 out of 13. The Tigers have made 112 tackles, 105 hitups and 12 missed tackles. The Sea Eagles have made 173 tackles, 63 hitups and 15 missed tackles. The Tigers have made 5 handling errors and the Sea Eagles have made 3. For the Tigers the top tackler has been Galea with 14 and Laffranchi and O'Neill have made the most hitups with 12 each. For the Sea Eagles, the top tackler has been Williamson with 22 and Hopoate has made the most hitups with 12, double anyone else in the team
44th min: TRY - Lima for Manly. The try on halftime and the break has done the Sea Eagles the world of good, and they have come out with guns ablazing. A line dropout and Manly are hot on attack. Danny Lima, close to the line, spins in the tackle and scores. Walker has no problems adding the 2 points. Tigers 24-18
50th min: TRY - Donald for Sea Eagles. The Tigers still on the back foot, get the bad bounce behind their line, and a flying Donald is there to touch down. Walker from 20 metres in, does not miss these ones. 24-24
55th min: NEWS - Tigers finally get a chance near their line by gaining a penalty. They opt to go for a 4 pointer instead of 2, and lose the ball over the line on the 3rd tackle
58th min: NEWS - Tigers yet again close to scoring but held up across the line on the last tackle. Great defence by the Sea Eagles. Still locked up at 24 all
63rd min: PENALTY GOAL - Walker for Manly. The Tigers suffered a penalty 48 metres out, but a bit of back chat, Shayne Hayne marches the Tigers 10 metres, and Walker has no problems getting the 2 points. Now 20 unanswered points to the Sea Eagles. Manly 26-24
66th min: TRY - Withers for Tigers. Super set of six by the Tigers to get right up near their line. Withers looks to kick on the last tackle, but runs instead and stretches the ball to the white line. Covell from 21 metres, keeps the perfect kicking record for the afternoon. Tigers 30-26
72nd min: TRY - Randall for Sea Eagles. A one on one strip at each end of the field. Skandalis unlucky for the Tigers, deemed to go forward. Next set and this time Manly get the strip,. Also get a penalty and no trouble for Randall to duck under the defenders. Walker still at 100% tonight, adds the 2 points. Sea Eagles 32-30
76th min: TRY - Williamson for Sea Eagles. Great attacking play by Manly to have the Tigers dropping off tackles. Spinning in the tackle, MacDougall does a beautiful offload to Williamson to score. Walker gets the conversion and the crowd goes quiet. Sea Eagles 38-30
FULL TIME: Brilliant fight back from the Manly side, a great game.
Fulltime stats: The Tigers completed 31 of 41 sets while the Sea Eagles completed 26 of 36. The Tigers made 259 tackles, 174 hitups and 24 missed tackles. The Sea Eagles made 282 tackles, 153 hitups and 21 missed tackles. The Tigers made 13 handling errors and the Sea Eagles made 10. For the Tigers the top tackler was Galea with 28 and O'Neill made the most hitups with 18. For the Sea Eagles the top tackler was Randall with 29 and Hopoate made the most hitups with 25, almost doubling his team mates. Penalty count was 5 to the Tigers, and 3 to the Sea Eagles.