In what was expected to be a Sunday afternoon thriller between the NRL's fifth and sixth placed teams turned into a Manly masterclass as they ran out big 36-24 winners over the Parramatta Eels.
The game started off as the cracker that fans expected with both sides getting on the board inside the first 10 minutes with Reuben Garrick scoring after just five minutes. Eels debutant Ethan Parry scored in just the 9th minute after pulling the pants down of Jorge Taufua who waited for the ball to go dead only to have Parry dive in and get the ball down.
The Blue and Gold took the lead after 13 minutes when Mitch Moses put a kick in behind the Manly defensive line and Brad Takairangi got through and put his hand on the ball first and they lead 12-10. The lead wasn't one to last for Parramatta when the Sea Eagles got their way back level through captain Daly Cherry-Evans who was able to dupe the Parramatta defence into falling for a dummy and DCE sliced through to score.
Manly then put their foot on the accelerator just a minute later when Tom Trbojevic was flying through the air and pinched the ball out of the hands of Clint Gutherson mid-air and got it to score untouched. The one-way traffic continued for Manly as Brad Parker went through Parramatta's poor defence and the Manly centre scored. The final points of the half for the Sea Eagles came through Addin Fonua-Blake after Tom Trbojevic went through and got extremely close to score before DCE put the kick through that Fonua-Blake grounded.
The second half started in similar style for the Maroon and Whites as Reuben Garrick picked up both second half tries for Manly, the first came when Garrick was able to out jump a still standing Maika Sivo to take the catch and score off the Dylan Walker kick. The second of Garrick's tries as the Sea Eagles spun the ball from left to right and were able to create a 3 on 2 and Garrick strolled over in the corner.
Manly coach Des Hasler probably won't have been happy with the final 20 minutes or so from his side as errors crept in as the Eels fought back to score two late consolation tries, with one coming to Nathan Brown which was off a deflection off a Manly player's knee and strolled through to score the try. The Eels scored a final try inside the final 10 minutes when Maika Sivo used his strength and agility to put himself in the air and ground the ball in the corner. The possibility of a grandstand finish was raised but nothing came of it and Manly took a 36-24 victory.
Next weekend, the Sea Eagles head to Melbourne for a clash against the competition leaders whilst the Eels play host to the Warriors.