A last-minute field goal to Daly Cherry-Evans has propelled the Manly Sea Eagles to a 13-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Central Coast Stadium.
The victory, which is Manly’s first of the season, will come as sweet relief to Des Hasler’s side who were once again without star fullback Tom Trbojevic.
Both sides struggled in attack early in the match, with neither side troubling the scores through the first 25 minutes.
The Warriors were crippled by errors, while some stout defence continually repelled the Sea Eagles, who were denied by the Bunker on three occasions.
Manly was eventually able to break the deadlock with a brave scrum play that saw Daly Cherry-Evans kick long from within his own half.
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In a sprint race against Ken Maumalo, Jason Saab came out on top and grounded the ball for the first try of the night.
The Sea Eagles would not remain in the lead for long, however, with the Warriors hitting back on their next attacking set.
Filling in for Bayley Sironen, second-rower Jack Murchie broke free before drawing the fullback and passing to Ken Maumalo.
At halftime, both sides entered the sheds locked at 6-6.
Sean O’Sullivan opened the scoring in the second half, slicing through the paper-thin Manly defence to go over virtually untouched.
— NRL (@NRL) April 9, 2021
The Warriors looked as though they may kick clear, but the Sea Eagles refused to give in.
Josh Schuster levelled the scores once more in the 59th minute and provided the match with a grandstand finish.
Neither side was able to take the lead or move into field goal range for much of the remaining twenty minutes and it appeared as though the game was destined for extra time.
However, it was the Warriors poor handling that would ultimately cost them as Jack Murchie dropped possession with one minute remaining to gift Manly prime field position.
Following an attempt from rookie Josh Schuster that was charged down by Tohu Harris, Daly Cherry-Evans was able to capitalise on the mistake by kicking a field goal on the siren to win the match.
The Warriors will be left to rue their uncharacteristically poor handling, with twelve errors and a completion rate of 75%. The Sea Eagles were equally as sloppy with sixteen errors.
While it appears as though Manly will be boosted next week with the addition of Tom Trbojevic, they will be without Jack Gosiewski (foot) and Dylan Walker (hamstring) who will both be out long-term after suffering serious leg injuries tonight.
Manly will now travel to Mudgee to face the Titans at Glen Willow Oval next Saturday afternoon, while the Warriors will look to rebound against the in-form Dragons next Sunday at Kogarah.
NRL News Player of the Game:
3 Points – Daly Cherry-Evans – The Manly skipper chimed in with the try assists on both Manly four-pointers before icing the game on the buzzer. He was instrumental in everything Manly created.
2 Points – Jazz Tevaga – Led all Warriors forwards with sixteen runs for 145 metres, but his continued defensive efforts were superb.
Had a game-high 51 tackles, which included a stunning one-on-one try-saver in the first half.
1 Point – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – Two line-break assists, five tackle busts and thirty runs for a game-high 259 metres in yet another Herculean effort from the Warriors’ skipper.
Unfortunately for Warriors fans, he just didn’t have enough support from his teammates to secure the win.