A Dylan Walker try with just two minutes left in the contest has given the Manly Sea Eagles an upset 18-12 win over a previously unbeaten Sydney Roosters side at Allianz Stadium.
In control for much of the game, the Sea Eagles secured the late victory after Walker combined with fellow centre Brian Kelly, before racing away to score.
In what was Walker’s best game of the season so far, he scored two tries, amassed 200m and had a perfect goal-kicking percentage.
The game looked destined for golden point as both teams bashed and bruised their way through the middle of the field.
To start the game, it was Manly who went up 2-0 after a Walker penalty goal, before the Roosters hit the lead after Luke Keary and Shaun Kenny-Dowall combined with the Kiwi international scoring.
The Roosters had a bit of a slide after that as enforcer Dylan Napa left the field with an ankle injury before Manly fullback and winger Tom Trbojevic and Jorge Taufua combined for a try.
The game went back and forth for long periods as both teams attempted to gain some ascendancy and the scores were eventually locked up at 12-apiece after Mitchell Pearce muscled his way over.
After that, the rest is history, as despite some field-goal misses, it was the Walker try that sealed the win for Manly.
Whilst some of their stars shone in the game, Manly coach Trent Barrett praised his recruits and some of the unheralded players in the team.
“They’ve all got a bit of a point to prove,” Barrett said of his new recruits.
“I think Akuila Uate has been one of our most consistent players over the last month. ‘Siro’ has been terrific for us and Frank Winterstein has been good for us.
“There are a lot of unheralded players in our team who not a lot of people sit up and take notice of, but they work bloody hard to put themselves in the positions that they’re in.”
Whilst it was somewhat of a solid performance from the Roosters, errors late in the game cost them and coach Trent Robinson lamented those mistakes.
“I thought our set from the kick-off [after the Pearce try] was quite good. I thought we did quite well there but then I think a couple of errors followed at the end of our sets,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
“It’s disappointing to lose our first game, especially when it was there for the taking, but Manly played extremely well.”
Player of the Game:
3. Dylan Walker
2. Mitch Pearce
- Akuila Uate
Sea Eagles 18 (Dylan Walker 2, Jorge Taufua tries; Dylan Walker 3 goals) def. Roosters 12 (Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Mitchell Pearce tries; Michael Gordon 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 6-6. Crowd: 12,376. Injuries: Dylan Napa (ankle)