Full Time
3:00pm Sat April 13, 2024
Round 6 - Go Media Stadium, Penrose / Aotearoa - Crowd: 23076

Match Overview

The rivalry between Shaun Johnson and Daly Cherry-Evans delivered in a thrilling contest as the New Zealand Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles split the points in a 22-all draw at Go Media Stadium. 

Having faced off for more than a decade in club games, grand finals and test matches, the two veteran halfbacks were heavily involved for their respective clubs in an oustanding spectacle of rugby league played before 23,076 supporters.

Fresh from becoming the most-capped played for the Sea Eagles last week, Cherry-Evans (10th minute) opened the scoring after pouncing on a fortuitous offload from Tom Trbojevic which was knocked back by Wayde Egan and rolled through the legs of Tohu Harris into the in-goal.

The Sea Eagles extended their lead after spreading the ball from inside their own half, which allowed Tommy Talau to sprint down the sideline and kick in-field for Cherry-Evans (23rd minute) to collect his second four-pointer.

Establishing a 16-0 lead moments later after Tom Trbojevic delivered a cut-out pass for Talau (27th minute) to score in the corner, the Sea Eagles appeared equally impressive in defence when Ben Trbojevic produced a try-saving tackle to deny Marcelo Montoya at the opposite end of the field.

The Warriors managed to claw back the lead with Harris sending Jazz Tevaga (35th minute) underneath the posts with a short pass; the joy was short lived as the interchange forward hobbled from the field with a hamstring injury.

Striking a crucial blow on halftime courtesy of Luke Brooks throwing an ill-conceived pass, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (40th minute) raced 50 metres to narrow the margin to 16-10 at the change of ends.

Both halfbacks demonstrated their class early in the second half with Cherry-Evans firing a superb pass to put Ben Trbojevic (44th minute) into a hole, before Johnson (53rd minute) responded with a solo run reminiscent of the highlights he made his name on as a younger man.

In a tense second half which saw the visitors hold a 22-14 lead, after Johnson missed a conversion from close to the posts, the Warriors set up a thrilling finish with Watene-Zelezniak (79th minute) crossing for his second.

Landing a sideline conversion to narrow the margin to 22-20, Johnson's attempt at a two-point field goal fell short; however Josh Aloiai was penalised for making contact with the legs of the kicker, resulting in a penalty from in front which levelled the scores at 22-all at the end of regulation time.

Both sides played field position during golden point with both Cherry-Evans (0/2) and Johnson (0/1) unable to land the decisive score, leaving the two sides to walk away with a deserved point each at the end of 90 minutes.

Next week, the Warriors will travel to Wollongong on Friday night to take on the Dragons, while the Sea Eagles will head to the Gold Coast to face the Titans on Saturday evening.

3. Daly Cherry-Evans

Bagging two tries, setting up one and directing play with precision passing and kicking, the veteran halfback showed his class as one of the best players of his generation.

2. Shaun Johnson

Scoring a try and setting up another, the Warriors halfback pulled the game out of the fire for the home side.

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

The Warriors fullback was heavily involved with well over 300 running metres.