Sea Eagles sneak home in thriller

Fulltime score: Round 13 Sydney Roosters 18 v Manly Sea Eagles 22

Match summary: The Manly Sea Eagles have produced another come-from-behind victory to edge out the Sydney Roosters 22-18 in a gripping match played out in front of 20,000 fans at Aussie Stadium tonight.

It was a slow start from both teams, although the Sea Eagles managed an 8th minute try to Anthony Watmough to hold an early lead. The Roosters started to hit their straps midway through the first half and hit back strongly with tries to Anthony Minichiello and Amos Roberts to take a 14-6 lead into the break. There were even more opportunities missed as the Roosters produced uncharacteristic errors at the wrong times when they were threatening to break loose.

A passionate halftime rev-up from coach Des Hasler certainly had the right effect on his charges, and the Sea Eagles came out firing to score two tries in the first ten minutes of the second half to reclaim the lead. The Roosters actually crossed the line four times in the second half but could only come up with one try to Joel Monaghan in the 65th minute as a combination of desperate Manly defence and unforced errors ultimately led to their downfall.

The Sea Eagles were brilliantly led from the front by Ben Kennedy with great back-up from Anthony Watmough and Michael Monaghan, and now find themselves in equal first position at the halfway point of the season. This victory has broken a number of hoodoos for the Brookvale boys, and will give them a huge confidence boost for the run in to the finals.

For the Roosters, Anthony Tupou showed spark from the bench and Joel Monaghan produced some great runs from the back. Craig Fitzgibbon and Jason Cayless chimed in with their usual strong showings up front, but it wasn't enough to get the result over a determined opposition. If other weekend results go against them, the Roosters could find themselves out of the Top 8 once more.

Scorers: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 18 Tries: Minichiello, Roberts, Monaghan Goals: Fitzgibbon 3/4 MANLY SEA EAGLES 22 Tries: Watmough, Stewart, Stephenson Goals: Witt 5/5

Venue: Aussie Stadium Crowd: 19,787 Referee: Tim Mander Half time: Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 6

Live commentary: It's Friday Night Football time again! Welcome to Aussie Stadium for this match-up between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Sea Eagles. The Roosters are starting to find some consistency after a shaky start to the season, and Manly will be looking to carry on their good form on the back of an amazing comeback against the Panthers last week. There are no late changes to either team, and we're all set to go.

0 min: Kickoff!

2 min: Amos Roberts (Roosters) nearly nabs an intercept but knocks on instead. The Roosters are showing their trademark strong defence to start this match.

7 min: Amos Roberts gets involved again, this time by giving away a penalty for a lifting tackle. A great attacking chance now for the Sea Eagles.

8 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Michael Monaghan grubbers close to the Roosters line, the kick deflects off a Rooster leg and Anthony Watmough pounces to score the opening try. Michael Witt adds the extras. Roosters 0 Sea Eagles 6

13 min: The Roosters are attacking hard now, and have forced a goal-line drop out.

16 min: Manly's defence holds, but the Roosters don't seem to be asking too many questions with their attack.

19 min: The Roosters have now had three good scoring opportunities in the last six minutes, but are letting themselves down with basic errors.

22 min: Chris Flannery (Roosters) has left the field with a possible wrist/hand injury.

25 min: TRY - Roosters Anthony Minichiello crosses the stripe, following an inside ball from Brett Finch to Adrian Morley that created the break up the middle. Craig Fitzgibbon adds another two. Roosters 6 Sea Eagles 6

28 min: The Roosters have certainly fired up as Manly are starting to show signs of pressure.

The video ref is checking a Roosters try ...

30 min: TRY - Roosters Amos Roberts chases a Brett Finch grubber kick and dots down before taking out a camera-man for good measure. The Roosters are suddenly looking like a different team than the one that started the match. Craig Fitzgibbon converts. Roosters 12 Sea Eagles 6

33 min: Paul Stephenson (Manly) is penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball. Sea Eagles captain Michael Monaghan engages in some lively debate with Tim Mander, but the penalty stands. After all that, Craig Fitzgibbon adds another two points from the penalty. Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 6

36 min: Scott Donald races through and nearly grabs a Michael Monaghan cross-field kick, but Anthony Minichiello is on hand to take the ball over the dead-ball line.

40 min: Manly have finished the first half by holding out the Roosters with desperate defence against repeat attacking sets.

HALFTIME: Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 6 The Roosters have taken a little while to get into this match but showed more spark as the game wore on. Jason Cayless is leading the way with a strong showing in the forwards, assisted by some great runs from Anthony Tupou. Manly haven't had a lot of opportunities with the ball, and will be looking for a strong second half showing to stay competitive in this match. Des Hasler certainly doesn't look too happy in the changing sheds. Possession: Roosters 53% Sea Eagles 47% Completion: Roosters 17/23 Sea Eagles 15/20 Missed Tackles: Roosters 9 Sea Eagles 16 Errors: Roosters 8 Sea Eagles 7

The second half is now underway ...

42 min: A bomb from Shayne Dunley is brilliantly taken by Joel Monaghan, who is then forced in-goal by some strong Sea Eagles defence.

45 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Manly get exactly the start to the second half that they wanted. A Shayne Dunley pass is knocked backwards into the in-goal by Ryan Cross, and Brett Stewart is on hand to score the try. Michael Witt converts. Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 12

48 min: NO TRY - Roosters Michael Crocker drops the ball cold over the line. Anthony Minichiello set up the field position with a great run up the middle of the ruck.

The video ref is checking a possible Sea Eagles try ...

50 min: TRY - Sea Eagles Paul Stephenson slides over out wide to score after some great passing movements from Manly. Michael Witt's kick is a beauty. Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 18

54 min: Craig Wing launches a bomb into the Sea Eagles in-goal, but it's a fraction too deep. Both sides are showing plenty of ball movement at the moment.

55 min: A forward pass from the Roosters 20 metres out from their own line hands a great opportunity to Manly.

57 min: Manly force a goal-line drop out. Plenty of pressure coming for the Roosters.

59 min: PENALTY - Iosia Soliola is penalised for holding down in a tackle. Michael Witt kicks another two points for Manly. Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 20

The video ref is checking a possible Roosters try ...

61 min: NO TRY - Roosters The video ref sends the call back to Tim Mander, who rules Richard Fa'aoso is held up over the line after charging through half the Sea Eagles pack.

63 min: Michael Crocker is placed on report after a late (and high) tackle on Michael Witt after a clearing kick.

63 min: PENALTY - Michael Witt recoveres from the high shot to add another two points from the subsequent penalty. Roosters 14 Sea Eagles 22

65 min: TRY - Roosters Joel Monaghan just sneaks in out wide after some good lead-up work from Ryan Cross. We're in for a ripper of a finish to this one! Craig Fitzgibbon misses the converison. Roosters 18 Sea Eagles 22

70 min: A Steve Menzies error 10 metres out from his line gives the Roosters a golden opportunity, but Ryan Cross is penalised shortly afterwards for an incorrect play-the-ball.

72 min: Brett Finch hoists a bomb into the Manly in-goal which is knocked dead by the Sea Eagles.

75 min: The 19,787 fans in the crowd are in fine voice as this match heads towards a gripping conclusion.

78 min: NO TRY - Roosters A HUGE Brett Finch bomb is somehow recovered by the Roosters, who were over the line before being called back for a forward pass.

FULL TIME: Michael Monaghan throws a pass into the crowd to wrap up a great win for Manly tonight, 22-18 over the Sydney Roosters.

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles) 2 - Anthony Tupou (Roosters) 1 - Joel Monaghan (Roosters) -----------------------------------------

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