Full Time
8:00pm Thu March 16, 2023
Round 3 - 4 Pines Park, Brookvale / Cammeraygal - Crowd: 13363

Match Overview

Manly have opened their season being undefeated after three rounds for the first time since 2007, despite a determined Eels side that engaged in a flurry of point scoring in the final ten minutes of the game - finishing 34-30 winners at Brookvale.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Manly held a narrow 22-16 lead in what had been, up to that point, a reasonably strong performance from both outfits defensively. But then a switch flicked and everything went haywire.

Josh Schuster placed a shallow bomb towards the Eel's posts and found Haumole Olakau'atu who caught the ball cleanly before falling over the line for a try. Reuben Garrick converted and Manly lead 28-16 with 8 minutes remaining.

Maika Sivo capped a nice left side movement with a try in the corner which Mitch Moses failed to convert. The Eels trailed by 8 with 6 minutes remaining.

Parramatta refused to go away, employing some second phase play in the middle of the field, and after 3 offloads, the ball finally made it to Josh Hodgson, who dummied, shaped to kick and then dashed through a yawning gap to race 40 metres to score. Moses converted to reduce Manly's lead to 2 points with 3 minutes remaining.

From the restart, J'maine Hopgood tried to con tinue the second phase play, but his pushed offload was intercepted by Olakau'atu who ran 25 metres to score. Garrick added the extras and extended Manly's lead to 34-26 with just under 3 minutes remaining.

From the ensuing set, Parramatta marched downfield and on their last tackle, sent Sivo in for his second try in the space of just four minutes. Moses again failed to convert. Manly then settled down with 90 seconds on the clock and held on for a tight 4 point victory.

Earlier in the match, Manly got off to a great start with an 8th minute try to Garrick to bulldozed his way through Clint Gutherson. Garrick converted his try and then kicked a penalty goal 11 minutes later.

Tom Trbojevic playing like his older brother, stormed onto a short ball from the dummy half after a strong Schuster run on the previous tackle, and barged his way over to score a strong try. Garrick again converted.

Five minutes before halftime, Gutherson got his side on the board when he swept around the back on the left side, threw several dummies before slicing through the edge defence to score a good solo try. Moses converted.

Parramatta scored again less then 3 minutes later when Matt Doorey barged onto a crash ball and smashed his way over the line.  Moses was unable to add the extras. At halftime, Manly's 14-0 lead had been whittled down to 14-10.

Parramatta continued where they left off when play resumed when Gutherson shrugged out of a tackle and then ran through the vacant space in front of him to score another good solo try. Moses converted from in front to give the Eels a 16-14 lead after 45 minutes.

Manly hit back two quickfire tries in 4 minutes, first to Tom Trbojevic who pounced on a crafty little chip by Schuster and then by Brad Parker who dived on a loose ball in the Parramatta in-goal to score a well-deserved try in his 100th NRL game. Garrick failed to convert both tries.

3. Josh Schuster

Schuster was on fire, showing off his steps, his crafty little kicks, two of which led to tries, his clever passing and his rock solid defence. A brilliant game from the five-eighth.

2. Haumole Olakau'atu

The big man was involved in making plenty of big hits in defence, many big runs and bagging two tries that props don't usually score.

1. Clinton Gutherson

Gutherson was almost solely responsible for keeping his side in the game. Two brilliant solo tries and a brilliant tackle midway through the second half that forced a knock-on and saved a try.