It may not have been the most attractive game in the attacking sense, but it was the defensive resolve of both teams that did the talking – as the Manly Sea Eagles leapfrogged the Cowboys into the top 4, with a hard-fought 8-6 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
With a Jamie Lyon penalty goal the only difference between the two sides, as both teams battled hard to score points, only to be let down by gritty and determined defence, or their own mistakes.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey was pleased with his side’s defensive resolve throughout the game.
“I’m really proud of our boys and how they defended and it was worthy of a semi-final and I think both sides will probably be there hopefully at the end of the year,” he said.
Despite the win however, Manly will face two nervous waits – with prop Darcy Lussick placed on report for a high elbow, and centre Steve Matai leaving the field due to an ankle injury.
Lyon, whose penalty goal decided the game, said that that was the sort of game that his side had to play more often, describing it as ‘semi-final standards’.
“That’s the football you’ve got to play at this time of year if you want to play in the semis and play against the good sides you have to play that grinding game every week and it’s good we got back to that grinding way I think,” Lyon said.
From the Cowboys point of view, it was a case of the side frustrating themselves in attack, and not playing to the best of their ability.
“We had too many dropped balls and the ends of sets weren’t quite on the money so I think that was the issue, we need to put a bit more pressure on them to tire them defensively and the joy comes off the back of that,” he said.