The home side trailed 6-2 at the break in what was a relatively slow and dour game in a lot of ways - a number of dubious decisions casting doubt across the game.
The visiting Eels were the first to open the scoring after 14 minutes, cutting through some soft Sea Eagles defence close to the line giving Tim Smith a four pointer. Luke Burt's sensational record with the boot saw them lead 6-0 after a glut of possession in the opening period.
Manly appeared to turn the tide somewhat in the latter part of the second half, but a number of forward pass rulings stopped their outside backs from crossing the line, as well as some tough Eels defence which allowed nothing through. Just a late penalty goal on the siren to Jamie Lyon got Manly on the board and the hosts trailed by four at halftime.
The second half saw two different sides come out - the Eels defence proved a little less solid and Manly were able to cut through a number of times to post points - the first of which a try to Lyon drew them level a few minutes after the halftime break.
Brett Stewart then crossed twice, both referred to the man upstairs Tim Mander - who awarded Stewart benefit of the doubt in one case where he appeared almost certainly short or at least held up. The Sea Eagles led by 10 at this point and an easy try out wide for Chris Hicks in all the melee put them 22-6 up.
Just one more scoring play came before fulltime, an easy try for Eels interchange player Zeb Taia, who in similar fashion to Smith in the first half, pierced Manly's goal-line defence with consummate ease. With the score at 22-12 in the final ten minutes, Jamie Lyon missed a penalty goal whilst Matt Orford's last minute field goal attempt also swung wide.
In the end Manly were able to dominate second half possession, a fact contributed to by poor final tackle options by the Parramatta side. These options permeated throughout the match - particularly through the questionable kicking game of five-eighth Brett Finch.
Standouts on the park included Brett Stewart who bagged a brace of tries, half-cum-hooker Michael Monaghan - whose play with Matt Orford can be lethal for the opposition at times, as well as Orford himself and second rower Anthony Watmough. The Eels had few players who shone, although outside backs Inu and Jarryd Hayne were relatively solid at the back and Aaron Cannings and as usual Nathan Hindmarsh continually aimed up in defence.
Manly move on to Monday Night Football next week against Brisbane, while the Eels will host the Cowboys at Parramatta on Saturday evening.
Round 9 :: May 11th, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Brookvale Oval Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 19,944
Parramatta Eels 12 Tries: Tim Smith, Zeb Taia Field Goals: Mark Riddell (0/1) Goals: Luke Burt (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited Live Commentary Welcome to Brookvale for this epic clash between the two sides which inaugurated in 1947. Jamie Lyon faces his old team the Eels for the first time since departing in early 2004.
For the Eels, Blake Green is dropped to Premier League to make way for the shock return of Mark Riddell in Jersey #20.
Kickoff just minutes away.
0 min: Underway at Brookvale! Manly first possession.
1 min: An early penalty for the Eels as Jason King is caught laying over the tackled player. Eels to attack now.
2 min: A relatively lacklustre shot at the line by Parramatta sees Manly take a 20m restart after the fifth tackle option fizzed from Brett Finch.
4 min: An almost failed fifth tackle option reaps rewards for the Eels as Luke Burt recovers on halfway to send a kickchase movement through Jarryd Hayne - which forced Manly fullback Brett Stewart to force the ball. Eels to attack again.
6 min: Another woeful fifth tackle kick from Finch sees no points scored and Manly to work the ball off their line. No score at Brookvale after six minutes.
10 min: Jason King in the thick of things again as he drops the ball. Eels to attack again.
12 min: The second time we've seen someone other than Finch kick for the Eels and the second time it's produced a result. PJ Marsh's kick through produces a repeat set for Parramatta after an uncharacteristic in-goal error from Brett Stewart.
14 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Tim Smith steps through some feeble Sea Eagles defence close to the line and easily scores. The Eels had the option after a penalty to kick for goal - and chose not to. A wise choice in hindsight. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 6-0
20 min: Simpkins sends the crowd into revolt after declaring a Manly knock on in goal after a great cross-field kick by Jamie Lyon on tackle five. Eels restart on the 20 and get away with it.
22 min: A penalty for the Eels on their own line after Jarryd Hayne was tackled mid-air. Eels still up by six.
26 min: Parramatta's defence has been solid as Manly's attack appears to be getting too flashy. The Eels hold the home side out again and will work it away from their own line.
30 min: Manly finally do enough to secure back to back sets on the Eels' line - is this their chance?
33 min: Forward pass ruling duds Manly a try to Brett Stewart and Parramatta get out of jail once again.
36 min: Another forward pass ruling in the same part of the ground puts the skids on another Manly attack on the line. Parramatta have done a tonne of defence in the last 15 minutes - can they last?
37 min: ON REPORT - Steve Matai (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles) Matai cops Ben Smith square in the face and sends him bleeding to the sheds. Simpkins puts Matai straight on report with just minutes remaining in the half. The Eels now with a penalty to put them on the attack.
39 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Parramatta Eels Field goal - Mark Riddell.
39 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta Eels Riddell (Eels) is ruled to have missed a field goal from right in front. Parramatta Eels 6-0
40 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Warringah Sea Eagles An obstruction penalty in front of the posts gives Manly some points to take to the break as the halftime siren sounds. Lyon pots the points. Parramatta Eels 6-2
HALFTIME: Parramatta Eels 6 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 2 The Eels had the upper hand for much of the first twenty at Brookvale tonight but while Manly seemed to turn the tide of possession they are yet to cross the white stripe - which can be put down to them trying to play a bitter of "glamour" football. Parramatta when in possession haven't looked deeply threatening - and Brett Finch's kicking game has been less than impressive. The only try of the half came through some lazy defence on Manly's line - something the visitors seemed to have perfected at the opposite end of the park. Just an unfortunate penalty for obstruction on the break sees Manly post two points. We saw this from Manly last week - Canberra getting out to a steady start before Manly ran roughshod. This match depends on how Manly react into the second half and how well Parramatta's defence can hold.
Some Stats: Missed tackles: Sea Eagles 13 Eels 10 Errors: Sea Eagles 6 Eels 3 Scrums: Eels 5 Sea Eagles 1 Penalties: Sea Eagles 4 Eels 4
Stay tuned for the next forty minutes of action.
41 min: Second half begins here at Brookvale, Eels with first use of the ball for the final forty.
44 min: A fifth tackle option almost comes off for the Eels as Kiwi international and rookie Krisnan Inu is forced into touch just metres from the line after taking a cross-field kick. Manly to move away from their line.
46 min: Another poor showing from Finch on tackle number five and Manly get out of jail this time. Parramatta's attack came after a poor error from Manly forward Glenn Stewart.
48 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Brookvale's newest hero is in! After a sensational break downfield the Eagles centre-cum-five-eighth scores about 10 metres to the left of the uprights to level the scores... which remains that way with the Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful. 6 all
53 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Sea Eagles try to Brett Stewart.
DECISION PENDING.... TRY! Benefit of the doubt.
55 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Stewart is awarded a dubious try for Manly to take them to the lead. The video referee awarded him benefit of the doubt after being unable to discern whether the ball was grounded, short, or held up. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 12-6
59 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sea Eagles try for Chris Hicks.
DECISION PENDING.... TRY.
60 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles A dubious try awarded as Chris Hicks is centimetres from being offside. Ten points the gap now. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 16-6
63 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sea Eagles try for Brett Stewart.
64 min: TRY Manly Warringah Sea Eagles The game seemingly in the bag now as the Manly fullback crosses masterfully for a try in the corner. That takes his tally to thirty-five tries from 34 games at Brookvale. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22-6
67 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Eels interchange forward Zeb Taia crosses and suddenly things aren't so clear cut - more soft Manly defence allows the visitors back into the game. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22-12
69 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Lyon misses a penalty. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22-12
70 min: CROWD: 19,944
73 min: Parramatta really throwing the ball away a bit, giving Manly easy possession close to the line. The Eels don't look like winning the game from behind here.
79 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Orford tries a final minute drop goal which goes dead. And that's the game at Brookvale - Manly's second half effort far too good for a tiring Eels side. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22-12
FULLTIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22 Parramatta Eels 12 Manly have come home strong tonight in a battle that never really reached any great heights - a couple of dubious tries for Manly, a number of easy tries for Parramatta capped what was a decent game in front of a good crowd. Jamie Lyon's poor record with the boot would have done him no favours for his Origin aspirations, although he was very solid in defence.Like