The New Zealand Warriors registered back-to-back victories in a 26-22 result against the Manly Sea Eagles tonight at Brookvale Oval.
It has been another hectic week for the Warriors with off-field headlines but back on-field it was another fantastic performance. The Warriors sprung out to a 16-nil lead and despite a pair of sin-bins were able to hold off the Sea Eagles to move within touching distance of the top eight.
After the loss of Blake Green to the Knights, Chanel Harris-Tavita fit back into the halves with Kodi Nikorima. It was the latter who laid on the first try with a flighted kick for Patrick Herbert then Harris-Tavita got in on the act grubbered for Eliesa Katoa to make it 10-nil. Loanee George Jennings added a third to make it 16-nil after the first quarter of action in the greasy conditions.
The Sea Eagles lost both their front-rowers tonight through injuries as the injury toll continues to mount for the Northern Beaches side. They showed some grit to score twice after Jazz Tevaga was binned. Tevita Funa had the simplest putdown then his centre partner Moses Suli strode through before Herbert snatched one more for the Warriors on the break for 20-10.
It felt like deja vu in the second half. Warriors started like a house on fire again, Peta Hiku, who knows Brookvale well finished off a backline move to make it 26-10. It looked like the Warriors were strolling to their first back-to-back wins of the season before another sin-bin, this time, to firebrand forward Jack Hetherington gave the Sea Eagles another sniff at the game.
There was a sense of dread which crept in after Haumole Olakau'atu and Jorge Taufua hit back for the Sea Eagles to make it 26-22 with ten minutes to go. The Sea Eagles weren't able to mount a serious challenge in the wet conditions. The closest came when Daly Cherry-Evans tried his hand at soccer which gave the Warriors line a slight scare but the resolute Warriors held on.
It is another big tick in the box for interim coach Todd Payten. This side has faced so many challenges in what is a challenging year for everyone, but they haven't turned up their nose and tried each week. Now, they have put a few results together and amazingly are within touching distance of the top eight.
For the Sea Eagles, that was a banker that turned into a nightmare. More injuries, another loss which hampers their top eight charge and the season is slowly slipping away from the Sea Eagles, who desperately need to get some troops back.