Sea Eagles Too Strong for Gallant Cowboys

The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have prevailed 24-12 against the North Queensland Cowboys in an entertaining affair at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Josh Hannay was given a tough challenge in his head coaching debut with his young side matching up against a much-fancied Sea Eagles lineup who are fighting for a top eight spot.

The Cowboys looked set to defy an early onslaught from Manly but Curtis Sironen crashed over after seven minutes to land the first blow of the match.

Neither side gained any clear momentum through the following twenty minutes with errors stifling the attack of both sides.

However, Manly slowly began to regain control of possession and reaped the rewards through a Danny Levi dummy-half scoot.

Jack Gosiewski looked to have further extended the lead in the following set but was denied by the Bunker.

Kyle Feldt would have no such issues at the other end of the field, rising above Jorge Taufua to score. He then slotted the sideline conversion to cut the lead to six.

It was Feldt’s tenth four pointer of the year, making it five consecutive seasons with a double-digit try tally for the Cowboys winger.

Both sides struggled to break through following the break, but Brendan Elliot was fortunate to remain on the field after a potential professional foul on Kyle Feldt.

It was Manly who struck first however, with Daly Cherry-Evans crossing for his second try in as many weeks to extend the lead to 12.

As time ticked down the Cowboys weren’t without their chances, the greatest of which came through a Daejarn Asi grubber that was inexcusably spilled by Coen Hess over the line.

When Cade Cust crossed on the following set, the result appeared to be confirmed.

Francis Molo crashed over with ten minutes to go but his efforts proved to be little more than a consolation try for the Cowboys.

The luckless North Queensland fans in attendance were treated to the sight of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in full flight, gliding his way downfield in an impressive 80-metre run.

Unfortunately, his efforts were unrewarded.

Following the match, Manly coach Des Hasler was pleased with his team’s efforts, directing praise to his side’s ability to ‘weather a couple of difficult patches’ throughout the match when the Cowboys gained momentum.

Despite the loss, Josh Hannay remained upbeat in his first press conference as head coach. He said that his team’s performance was encouraging, but just not enough to get the job done on the night.

“I’ve been harping on the need to become more consistent around the tough parts of the game… we need to make sure that the last fortnight’s effort and attitude are the standard for us for the rest of the year” Hannay stated.

With tonight’s victory Manly will sneak back into the top eight, while the Cowboys remain in twelfth position.

Both clubs will now enjoy an eight day turnaround with the Sea Eagles playing against the Panthers and the Cowboys facing off against Canberra next Saturday night.

NRL News Player of the Match:
3 Points – Cade Cust – One try and a try assist was enough for Cust to secure the player of the match honours. He’s been exceptional since taking the place of Dylan Walker and will certainly challenge for the starting role moving forward.

2 Points – Addin Fonua-Blake – His addition was somewhat controversial, but there’s no doubting that Manly are a much better side with Fonua-Blake on the pitch. He racked up 228 metres on 17 runs to go along with 33 tackles.

1 Point – Jason Taumalolo – Taumalolo put in a typically tough performance tonight, putting the team on his back for 212 metres on 22 carries in addition to 43 tackles.

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