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Manly Sea Eagles recorded a 24-12 success against North Queensland Cowboys tonight to move into the top eight in Townsville.
The Sea Eagles followed up their ambush last weekend against the table-topping Eels, with a much sober outing. Manly kept the Cowboys at arms length with two tries in each half to move themselves into the top eight.
Curtis Sironen, Danny Levi, Daly Cherry-Evans and Cade Cust all crossed for the visitors while Reuben Garrick had a comfortable night with the boot, kicking four from four. Cowboys scored through Kyle Feldt and Francis Molo but couldn;t muster enough to challenge the Sea Eagles.
After their wobble in recent weeks, the Sea Eagles have found their rhythm again. Now they've won back-to-back games, sit inside the top eight and look to welcome back stars Dylan Walker and Tom Trbojevic in coming weeks. So, things are much brighter on the northern beaches.
Coming off their upset, the Sea Eagles started out with a bang. Sironen spun across in the 7th minute after back-to-back sets followed by Danny Levi, who continued to find his way to the stripe that made it 12-nil after a quarter of the contest.
Finding who to partner Cherry-Evans in the halves for the Sea Eagles has been a challenge for Des Hasler. Cade Cust put together a compelling audition tonight, scoring the final four-pointer and setting up DCE. Cust had the ball on the string with several dropouts which tired out the Cowboys pack.
Josh Hannay couldn't inspire his side to a result in his coaching debut, but the Cowboys showed slight signs of promise. Second-gamer Daejarn Asi looked comfortable in his halves role with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidlow was solid at fullback. Otherwise, the attack was clunky once again.
There was enough ball for the Cowboys to bridge the deficit but bar kicks to Feldt's wing and short balls to the forwards, there wasn;t much. Since their Grand Final success in 2015, the decline has been gradual from the Townsville side and this season might represent the nadir for their rebuild into how to become contenders again.
Kyle Feldt continued to show his aerial prowess with a leaping effort in the 39th minute to make it 12-6. Francis Molo nudged over late to give some false hope for the comeback at 24-12 but besides a gliding run from Tabuai-Fidow there wasn't much thrust to the attack.
North Queensland Cowboys 12 - Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Halftime Score: North Queensland Cowboys 6 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cade Cust
2 points - Curtis Sironen
1 points - Brendan Elliot
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (12)
Tries: Kyle Feldt, Francis Molo
Conversions: Kyle Feldt (2/2)
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (24)
Tries: Curtis Sironen, Danny Levi, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cade Cust
Field Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans (0/1)
Conversions: Reuben Garrick (4/4)