NRL Sunday Rugby League

Manly eventually run over Warriors
Manly Sea Eagles 13 def NZ Warriors 10

Brooky was the scene of a hard fought low scoring game of Rugby League today as the Eagles did battle with the NZ Warriors.

In a physical match-up that saw 5 to 6 tries disallowed, mostly for Manly – it was the intervention from referee Ben Cummins early in the second half that only really allowed Manly to win.

The Warriors dominated possession in the first half, and were able to touch down for first points, however the possession stats changed late in the half and the Warriors were successful in repelling wave after wave of Manly attack. It was extremely impressive defence, I was blown away at home many repeat sets Manly had only to be turned away by staunch Warriors defence.

The sides went into the sheds at 6-0 to the Warriors – but upon returning, 2 or 3 crucial calls by referee Ben Cummins really did hand the match over the Sea Eagles.

Cummins was actually having an impressive game, and refused to use video replays on several occasions and made correct no-try rulings in each. However, initially it was a blatent 2 on 1 strip on Michael Witt that was missed, then it was a 50/50 call on a Warrior play the ball infringement, then it was several missed Manly drop balls during tackles and finally it was ruthless whistle blowing late in the half that saw the Warriors see less than 40 percent possession in period 2.

I do not follow either of these teams personally, but if I was a Warriors fan I would surely be livid at the raw deal they copped in certain situations. To only lose the game by 3 points, when they saw less than 40 percent ball was simply amazing. The stats don’t actually tell the full story for this game, as the Warriors did miss something like 35+ tackles, but with 30 minutes to go – this stat was less than half that. Purely weight of possession prevented them from winning – however their strong defence will see them win plenty more games this year.

For Manly, probably not their best match. They really should have poured on more points with the ball they had. Mick Monaghan is to be congratulated again on an impressive match, he continues to be the form player for Manly and possibly the NRL 2007 season. He was always probing, organising and disciplined for his side – and he was ably backed up by some strong Manly forwards – with Brent Kite and Choc Watmough putting in big performances.

Manly really only need to work on some outside back attacking sequences. Most of the Eagles tries this year are coming from kicks – unusually highly rated centres Steve Bell and Jamie Lyon are playing well without being absolutely dominant as expected.

It has been interesting watching Jamie Lyon, as his fitness and skill is taking some time to catch up to current NRL standards – it points out that the UK Super League really is a few levels below NRL standards, and we can see this as Lyon is taking time to adapt.

The good work of Manly fullback Brett Stuart continues, with the speedster getting involved in everything and was unlucky not to have bagged 3 more tries, as he was denied this many times.

A little bit too much whistle blowing for my liking but overall a good old style defensive game was had at Brooky and Manly move to 4 games and 4 wins for NRL 2007.

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By ricky

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