It looked like the Tigers were going to snatch a late victory, with ominous signs building as the game drew to a close – but the Manly Sea Eagles held on to make 2 wins from 2, with a 22-18 win over the Tigers at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.
It was the Tigers with the early ascendancy, as Manly looked flat and in all sorts, with the Tigers heading into the half-time break with an 8-2 lead.
In the second half, things were reversed, with Manly starting the stronger and scoring 20 unanswered points, to run out to a 22-8 lead, before the Tigers staged a late fightback – falling just short.
The match was not without its controversy however, after the Tigers were on the receiving end of a rather poor call against lock Chris Heighington, who was penalised for tackling Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans without the ball, despite his being the decoy runner, making it a legitimate tackle.
Things only got worst for the Tigers, who lost their best second-rower Gareth Ellis in the second-half, due to a severely corked thigh he suffered in the second-half.
Toovey praised his side’s resolve, and said that even though his side was down at half-time, he still felt that they could win the game.
“I am very proud of the boys and the way we came out in the second half, we were very gutsy,” Toovey said.
“I thought we dominated the first half. A few things went against us but I thought we were the better side and were only behind by six points and always knew we could come back.
“Beating the Tigers, who are a very tough team, is great. They are the premiership favourites but it is round two, there’s a long way to go.”‘
Tim Sheens, Wests Tigers coach, made no excuses in relation to his side’s poor start to the second half, but he concedes that the loss of Ellis was a big blow for the club.
“It was a very good first half of footy from both teams but the first 15 minutes of the second we were careless,” Sheens said.
“A lot of our errors were self-inflicted, we dropped a lot of ball, missed tackles and didn’t complete.
“We lost Gareth which hurt us and then the dropped ball for the try and we are up against it.”
To make things worst for the Tigers, winger Matt Utai is suspected to be out of action for up to 4-6 weeks, due to medial ligament damage in his knee.
NRLNews Dally M Points
Daly Cherry-Evans – 3
Tony Williams – 2
Beau Ryan – 1