The Parramatta Eels winning ways have been waylaid for a week after a thorough defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Manly Sea Eagles outfit as the Northern Beaches club mourned the loss of club great Bob Fulton earlier that day.

While the game remained close and hard-fought, the Eels were unable to wrestle back control, eventually going down 28 points to 6.

After a pre-game injury forced stand-in stand-off Cade Cust to the reserves and Josh Schuster in the jersey once worn by the legendary, Immortal Bob Fulton.

Seemingly unfazed by the last-minute spine reshuffle, it would be the Sea Eagles who would strike first at Bankwest Stadium, with Brad Parker hitting the tryline from 50 metres out after the unstoppable Tom Trbojevic delivered a silky ball to break the defensive line.

The home side would hit back immediately when Captain Clint Gutherson jinked and dived over to score against his old club.

The scores would level in the 13th minute, a promising bout between two old rivals to come.

The Eels attack has been electric in the opening half of the competition but the defensive effort of Manly would prove a match.

The Eels would not score again.

Club debutant Karl Lawton would make an instant impact, scoring immediately after entering the field in his first game for the Sea Eagles.

The elation would be short-lived however, when the cranial crackdown found its next target in Lawton, the bench hooker getting sent for 10-minutes in the bin.

Brad Parker would snag his double right on the bell of half-time and Manly, surprising the pundits, lead at Bankwest Stadium.

The motivated Manly side would capitalise on their early lead, Reuben Garrick scoring at the end of a team try. The man of the hour though, once again, was the fullback.

Ever since the return of Tom Trbojevic, the Sea Eagles have been a different side in both defense and attack.

Whatever it is about Tommy T and his winning ways, Manly Sea Eagles are now entrenched in the top 8, with a very winnable month in their sights.

They began that hunt for a (unthinkable a month ago) Top 4 position with this statement against premiership heavyweights on their home turf.

With Newcastle, the bye, Cowboys, and the Titans coming, the Manly Sea Eagles will be beginning to think that unthinkable.

It was only fitting then that Tom Trbojevic would ice the game in the 79th minute with a four-pointer of his own to complement his 2 try assists, 323 metres, 8 tackle busts, and 4 line break assists. What a return he has had.

While the Eels would have been disappointed to lose, this was always going to be a dangerous game for the Blue-and-Gold.

This was only amplified with the tragic loss of Bob Fulton – a good inspiration as any for the resurged Manly side.

With a few outs of their own (Dylan Brown, Marata Niukore), the Eels will chalk this up to a likely loss borne out.

The only danger for the team would be to view the loss as an aberration rather than a benchmark.

Parramatta is still a fair distance from Premiership glory, especially when faced with the indefatigable Penrith Panthers.


Manly Sea Eagles 28 (Parker 2, Lawton, Garrick, T. Trbojevic) def Parramatta Eels 6 (Gutherson)


Garrick 4/5

Moses 1/1

NRL News Player of the Match

3 Points – Tom Trbojevic (MAN)

2 Points – Josh Schuster (MAN)

1 Point – Daly Cherry-Evans (MAN)

Manly Sea Eagles five-eighth Josh Schuster

By rcurran

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