The incumbent Queensland and Australian halfback gave Manly fans a million reasons to smile with a sensational kicking performance to give the Sea Eagles their second win of the season with a 25-6 win over Canberra in Mudgee.
“If I’m the Manly boss, I’d be going down and putting a fresh bunch of flowers on Bob Fulton’s grave every day,”
Ricky Stuart said of DCE’s performance in the post-match presser.
“It’s the smartest play that club has ever made – pinching him back off the Titans and offering him $1 million for ten years.”
DCE led from the front, recording a 20/40, 40/20, two forced dropouts, 666 kick metres, a field goal, and a try assist in the NRL’s return to Mudgee.
Two early tries to Rueben Garrick and Morgan Harper in the 12th and 18th minute gave Manly an early lead – but the Raiders struck back through captain Jack Wighton in the 25th minute.
Garrick’s second try of the season was set up by young-gun Tolutau Koula, with the 19-year-old making his starting debut after Brad Parker was forced out pre-game with COVID.
Canberra had only themselves to blame as the second half began, with a poor completion rate of 4/10 from the Green Machine paving the way for continuous Sea Eagles field position – which Cherry-Evans took advantage of.
In a second half littered with towering DCE bombs and repetitive, costly errors from the Raiders, Manly broke away in the game’s last quarter with two quick tries to Haumole Olakau’atu and Tom Trbojevic in the 59th and 60th minutes.
“I thought his kicking game today was exceptional. It certainly got us back into the game at parts; it took the pressure off us at times,” Hasler said of Cherry-Evans’ game management.
“It was just those clutch moments; that’s what he does so well.”
Both teams sit on 4 points with two wins from four games. Manly faces a five-day turnaround to travel up the Hunter for a Thursday night clash with the Knights, while Canberra will travel to Wagga Wagga to play Melbourne on Saturday.
Manly Sea Eagles 25 d Canberra Raiders 6
Tries: Garrick, Haper, Wighton, Olakau’atu, T Trbojevic
Goals: Garrick 3/4, Schneider 1/1
Field Goals: Cherry-Evans
NRL NEWS Player Of The Match
3 Daly Cherry-Evans
2 Josh Aloiai
1 Tom Trbojevic