Sea Eagles withstand Dragons fightback

DESPITE having just 40% of possession Manly registered their first win at WIN Jubilee Oval with a hard-fought, heartstopping 24-18 victory over the Dragons in front of 11,607 fans.

The Eagles exploded out of the blocks and led 18-0 after 21 minutes before the Dragons stormed back into the contest to lock it up at 18-all with 17 minutes to play.

Manly showed true premiership credentials to overcome the Dragons and consolidate their position in the top four.

They were looking for their first victory at Kogarah over the merged entity in six attempts and started the match well with a scintillating opening 21 minutes where they kept up with the clock courtesy of a weight of possession as the Dragons suffered from poor ball control.

Jamie Lyon opened the scoring in just the third minute when the Eagles moved the ball to their right hand side as they looked to take advantage of the inexperience of Dragons centre Nathan Green who replaced Matt Cooper. Despite having three Dragons players hanging off him, Lyon slid his way into the in-goal and was awarded green lights after a video referee referral.

NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley will have another nervous couple of nights after Dragons winger Brett Morris hobbled from the field in the 15th minute with a knee injury after it became caught in the ground as he attempted to score the Dragons first try in the corner.

The Eagles extended their lead to double figure digits moments later through winger David Williams and again it was the Dragons left side defence which was partially to blame. Daly Cherry-Evans took the ball to the line and in desperation flicked the ball out the back and Williams found himself in possession where he took advantage of a staggered defensive line and muscled his way over for the try.

Manly hooker Matt Ballin continued the procession of points in the 21st minute when he simply burrowed his way over from dummy half. Possession slowly started to even up and after their 26th tackle inside the Manly 20m zone the home team found a way across. Jamie Soward fired a cut-out pass to Nathan Green who had an unimpeded 20m run to the line and the Dragons went to the break with a glimmer of hope despite trailing 18-4.

The Dragons hit the ground running in the second half with three tries of their own in the opening 20 minutes. Nathan Green closed the gap to 10 points after Jamie Soward’s perfectly timed pass. Despite Jamie Lyon’s best efforts to bundle the winger into touch, Green put the ball down in the corner just moments before his legs hit the sideline.

Moments later Michael Weyman charged onto a Mitch Rein short ball and crashed over under the posts and the Dragons faithful dared to dream of a remarkable comeback. After Chase Stanley also crossed in the 63rd minute the Dragons were full of running and Manly appeared to be tiring due to their defensive effort where they could not get out of their own end.

The Eagles showed true premiership credentials when they finally had some possession down the Dragons end of the field and Jorge Taufua put his side ahead in the 69th minute. Jamie Lyon’s successful conversion extended the visitor’s lead back out to a converted try which they held onto until fulltime.

Next week the Eagles clash with the Roosters in a top of the table clash next Monday night while the Dragons travel to the Gold Coast on Sunday.

Match Details
St. George Illawarra Dragons 18 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24
Venue: Kogarah Oval
Crowd: 11607
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-4 Players of the Match:
3 points - Daly Cherry-Evans
2 points - Jamie Lyon
1 point - Michael Weyman

Tries: Nathan Green (2), Michael Weyman, Chase Stanley
Field Goals:
Conversions: Jamie Soward (1/4)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Matt Ballin, Jorge Taufua
Field Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans (0/1)
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Live Commentary

Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Brett Morris 3. Chase Stanley 20. Nathan Green 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Jamie Soward 7. Nathan Fien 8. Dan Hunt 9. Mitch Rein 16 Jack de Belin 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Ben Creagh (c) 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 10. Jack Stockwell 14. Bronson Harrison 15. Matt Prior 19. Michael Weyman

Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon (c) 4. Tom Symonds 5. David Williams 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brent Kite 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Justin Horo 13. Glenn Stewart
Interchange 17. Jesse Sane-Lefao 20. Esi Tonga 21. James Hasson 22. George Rose
Round 8 of the Telstra Premiership concludes in the southern part of Sydney tonight when the home side St George Illawarra tackle the Manly Sea Eagles. No rain falling just yet but showers are forecast for throughout the game. The Dragons head into the match with a reasonable record against the Eagles which will give them confidence about an upset tonight.
In TEAM NEWS, Dragons centre Matt Cooper is out with Nathan Green replacing him while Michael Weyman is added to Steve Price's bench and Jack de Belin will start in the run-on side.
Three TEAM CHANGES for the Sea Eagles. David Gower, Jamie Buhrer and Peta Hiku are out for Manly with George Rose, Esi Tonga and James Hasson to come into coach Geoff Toovey's squad.
FULLTIME in the Holden Cup match between St George Illawarra and Manly and the Dragons have run out comprehensive 28-6 victors. Kick-off in the main game is about 25 minutes away.
Jamie Lyon leads the Eagles out onto Kogarah and they head to the northern end where they will kick off.
1 min: We're underway!
1 min: Mistake free from the Dragons and Soward's kick is taken by Taufua.
2 min: Manly march down the field and Foran's kick is taken well by Vidot.
2 min: The Dragons lose the ball on the second tackle and Manly go on the attack after Morris knocks the ball out of Stewart's hand.
2 min: The Dragons lose the ball on the second tackle and Manly go on the attack after Morris knocks the ball out of Stewart's hand.
3 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Manly try.
Scored by Jamie Lyon. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Jamie Lyon opens the scoring with a rather soft try down the Dragons left side. Lyon slid across the line despite Soward attempting to hold him up. Lyon adds the extras from the sideline.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 6-0
6 min: De Belin puts Rein's pass down on halfway. Manly to go on the attack.
7 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Manly try.
7 min: No Try. The Dragons are awarded a penalty after Tom Symonds makes contact with Chase Stanley before Taufua dived over in the corner.
8 min: Chase Stanley pops a pass to Vidot but it's ruled forward. Manly scrum.
9 min: Vidot scoops up a loose Manly pass and the Dragons go over halfway on tackle three.
10 min: Good scrambling defence from Manly forces the error off Frizell.
11 min: Cherry-Evans chips over the top of Vidot and the ball skids into touch. Dragons to feed a scrum 10m from their own line.
12 min: PENALTY Dragons. Merrin gets up with a quick play-the-ball and Manly keep their hand on the ball.
13 min: PENALTY Dragons. Manly offside.
14 min: Stanley is held up in a brilliant try-saving tackle by three Many defenders.
14 min: Morris is bundled into touch by Williams as the Manly cover defence came scrambling across. Manly to feed a scrum 10m out.
15 min: Morris hobbles from the field. Could be some drama for both the Dragons and the Blues with Origin just a month away.
15 min: PENALTY Eagles. Dragons offside.
15 min: Cherry-Evans can't find touch as Vidot acrobatically bats the ball back into the field of play.
16 min: Dan Hunt charges onto a short ball from Merrin but the Manly defence holds. Changeover.
17 min: PENALTY Eagles. Lawrence charges downfield after a Cherry-Evans short ball but Vidot forces the ball loose with a shoulder charge.
Scored by David Williams. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
David Williams scores the Eagles second as they went to the right side following the departure of Morris. Williams saw a staggered defensive line and muscled his way into the in-goal. Lyon again adds the extras from out wide.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12-0
20 min: Dragons ruled to have played at the ball and Manly have six more.
Scored by Matt Ballin. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Ballin dummies and dives over from dummy half after some disappointing goal-line defence from the Dragons. Lyon again converts.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-0
24 min: PENALTY Dragons. Manly ruled to have had two in the tackle when the strip was made. Replays suggest it might have been a fortunate call.
26 min: The Dragons force Foran back into the in-goal and get a repeat set.
27 min: Soward's pass to Green is knocked on.
27 min: Taufua raced out of the line and jammed Nightingale with a shoulder charge and will be placed on report. PENALTY Dragons.
28 min: Quick hands from Nightingale goes behind Stanley and Vidot and into touch. Manly scrum.
29 min: Manly error sees the Dragons in possession.
29 min: Dragons run the ball on the last and Weyman is tackled. Change over.
30 min: Lyon knocks on. Dragons scrum.
32 min: Fien's kick is charged down by Watmough and Ballin comes up with a brilliant catch.
32 min: Cherry-Evans hit in a solid tackle and the ball comes loose as he gets up to play it. Dragons scrum.
32 min: Cherry-Evans hit in a solid tackle and the ball comes loose as he gets up to play it. Dragons scrum.
33 min: The Dragons second-man play to the right hand side appeared to have created space on the outside but Fien's pass goes behind Vidot and into touch after a Manly touch.
Scored by Nathan Green. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
The weight of possession takes its toll and the Dragons have their first try. Soward's cut-out pass hit Green on the chest and he crosses in the corner. Soward's sideline conversion scrapes the outside of the right post.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-4
38 min: Soward's bomb is perfectly weighted and Stewart takes it before being bundled back into the in-goal by Nightingale. Manly dropout.
40 min: Fien's kick into the in-goal is picked up by Taufua who shimmies his way into the field of play.
40 min: Halftime at Kogarah and Manly lead the Dragons 18-4.
41 min: Second half is underway. Manly with first use.
41 min: Manly error from Horo first up. Dragons scrum early in the second stanza.
42 min: Brett Stewart has not emerged for Manly in the second half and Esi Tonga is out on the wing with Taufua playing fullback.
43 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Dragons try.
Scored by Nathan Green. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
Green scores his second try for the night after a sweeping second-man play to the left side. Again Soward with the money ball put his winger on the outside before he scored in the corner. Soward's conversion from out wide swings across the face.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-8
45 min: Soward's kick is charged down. Six more.
46 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Dragons try.
46 min: No Try. Another controversial decision is added to the pile this week. Manly dropout.
Scored by Michael Weyman. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
Weyman charges across! They can't take it off the Dragons this time. Rein jumped out of dummy half and delivered a short pass for the big front rower to crash over. Soward adds the extras and it's a four-point ballgame.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-14
49 min: Play stopped as Jack Stockwell is treated by the trainer.
49 min: Fien attempts a 40/20 but Tonga is back for the Eagles to prevent it.
50 min: PENALTY Dragons. Manly offside
51 min: PENALTY Dragons. Manly slowing the play the ball down too much.
52 min: Rein and de Belin get their wires crossed and Rose dives on the loose ball.
52 min: Forward pass from Ballin to Horo. Dragons scrum.
53 min: Soward's pass to Creagh is knocked on. Meek turnover from the Dragons.
54 min: Cherry-Evans attempts a 40/20 but the ball takes a wrong turn. Dragons 10m from their own line.
58 min: Fien scoops up Cherry-Evans' grubber and he needed to as well.
59 min: Symonds and de Belin collide heads and the Manly centre has come off second-best and in the hands of the trainers.
60 min: Scrappy play after the Eagles let the ball bounce. Manly ultimately get possession.
62 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Manly try.
62 min: No Try. Foran took the ball off Nightingale one-on-one but knocked it on attempting to score the try. Dragons play-the-ball.
62 min: PENALTY Dragons. The Kogarah faithful got their wish with their side getting the penalty on the last tackle.
Scored by Chase Stanley. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
Stanley scores the try to lock things up at Kogarah! Fien's second-man play found Nightingale who went through a massive hole in the Manly defence before flicking the ball to Stanley who slid across to score. Soward can't add the extras from just beside the posts.
18 all
67 min: Forward pass out of dummy half ruled against the Dragons. Replays suggest it was a tough call. Manly scrum.
Scored by Jorge Taufua. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Taufua now puts the Eagles back in front! He dragged Fien and Harrison across the line after Stanley raced out of the line. Lyon adds the extras from 20m in from touch.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-18
72 min: Vidot chips over the top unexplicably and then Manly are awarded a rare penalty.
Field goal attempt by Daly Cherry-Evans unsuccessful.
Cherry-Evans tries to extend the lead to seven but misses to the right.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-18
75 min: PENALTY Dragons. Hand in the play-the-ball.
76 min: Soward chips for Vidot but it's fractionally too big for his winger to drag in. Manly scrum.
77 min: Great kick from Cherry-Evans puts the ball into the Dragons in-goal.
78 min: Cherry-Evans with an ankle tap on Creagh
78 min: Dragons throw the ball around and Soward kicks across field where Creagh knocks the ball back but into the arms of Williams.
79 min: Lyon finds touch 10m from the Dragons line. Dragons with 70 seconds to go 90m and force golden point.
80 min: The Dragons lose the ball in pursuit of points and Manly will hang on.
80 min: Fulltime at Kogarah and Manly has defeated the Dragons 24-18.