Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters are no strangers to each other on the big stage.
Not only are the two clubs traditional Sydney based rivals, but have faced off in multiple finals games and two Grand Finals to boot.
In 1972, the Sea Eagles would defeat the Roosters in the Grand Final 19-14, before 41 years later the tri colours got their revenge, beating Manly 26-18 in the 2013 Grand Final, and heading into tonight’s game fans were hoping for a big time performance from both sides.
After losing to Melbourne last week, the Sea Eagles were looking to bounce back against the Roosters, who escaped with victory against the Gold Coast Titans, with the loser of this one being eliminated from the 2021 NRL competition.
The majority of the first half went all Manly’s way, with the Sea Eagles seemingly finding their mojo after last week as Tom Trbojevic crossed over for the first try of the game just five minutes into the game, and the momentum would continue for the maroon and whites as Kieran Foran scored just six minutes later, before captain Daly Cherry Evans would breeze through the Roosters defence to get his name on the scoresheet shortly after.
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Everything looked good for Manly, but then some silly errors started to creep into their game, and the Roosters were able to get their first try of the game following a forward pass by the Sea Eagles, when Matt Ikuvalu was on the receiving end of a great cutout pass on Manly’s try line to score in the corner.
However, the Sea Eagles would get their groove back and score again ten minutes before half-time through a great link up play by their right edge when Jason Saab made a break and set up Morgan Harper for the four pointer.
Adam Keighran would reduce the Roosters’ deficit to three converted tries on half-time with a penalty goal, making the score 24-6.
Manly’s stupendous form would continue at the start of the second half, as Jake Trbojevic broke through the Roosters middle defence and got the ball to Dylan Walker who was tackled just short of the try line, before Tom Trbojevic crashed over for his double in the next play six minutes into the second half to equal the Sea Eagles club record for most tries in a season with 27.
Walker may have been unlucky to not score in the previous set, but rectified that one minute later when he got the ball on halfway and blitzed the Roosters defence to score.
Final score 42-6