Tigers complete comeback to end Manly’s finals dreams

In a battle between two mid-table sides, the Manly Sea Eagles welcome Wests Tigers to Lottoland, with the loser knowing their hopes of appearing the finals would be over.

Following two set restarts in the favour of Manly, it was the home side who took the lead.

Daly Cherry-Evans took the ball to the line and put Morgan Harper through a gap to score in his NRL debut.

It was nearly deja vu for the Tigers just a few minutes later as Harper crashed over once again.

However, the young centre was held up by Thomas Mikaele.

Wests failed to keep Manly out much longer though as Josh Schuster combined with Cherry-Evans to get the ball over to Jorge Taufua for an easy try.

Despite not having any ball since the second minute, the Tigers hit back just before the 15th minute.

Benji Marshall, in the shop window, dropped the ball onto his foot on the third tackle and David Nofoaluma raced onto the ball for his 15th try of the year.

The Sea Eagles hit back straight away though as Cherry-Evans dabbed a kick through along the ground and Jack Gosiewski gathered and ground the extend the lead.

Cherry-Evans then converted to make it 14-6.

Just before the half-hour mark, Manly had crossed again as Funa picked up the ball out the back and then stepped back inside and through weak Tigers defence for try number four.

The Tigers looked to work themselves back into the game before the break, with a little help from a number of Manly errors.

David Nofoaluma was the recipient of a quick catch and pass from Joey Leilua, and stepped back against the grain, fooling four covering Manly defenders to take a two-try lead in the top-try scorer rankings.

Doueihi converted to make it an eight-point gap between the sides.

HALF-TIME: Manly Sea Eagles 20-12 Wests Tigers

Tigers were in the mood to make a game of the second half as they dominated the early stages of the second half.

Moses Mbye, at full-back, ran off the shoulder of Luke Brooks, collected the ball and ran past Funa to score.

Doueihi converted to make it 20-18 with 25 minutes remaining.

Marty Taupau was key in Manly extending the lead again as he lined up for a big carry before dropping the ball off to Jake Trbojevic to score under the posts.

With 14 minutes to go, the game was Manly’s to lose as Harper did enough to step past Doueihi as he gathered the ball and dive over to score.

Cherry-Evans converted once again to make it 32-18.

In the 70th minute, the Tigers were once again deep in the Sea Eagles half and Mbye combined with Doueihi to put the full-back over in the corner.

The Tigers were far from finished though, as a bit of razzle-dazzle ended in Nofoaluma diving over in the corner for his hat-trick and narrowing the gap to four points with seven minutes remaining.

Wests were charging upfield now, pinning Manly inside their own half.

In the 77th minute, a fifth tackle kick from Luke Brooks on the right edge found Adam Doueihi on the left side, as the centre out jumped Harper and landed over the line to level up.

Doueihi then converted his own try to make it 32-34.

The Tigers regained the shortened kick-off and charged back upfield.

Brooks was brought down on the 20-metre line and the Sea Eagles had one play to win the game.

Cherry-Evans and Harper couldn’t control the ball and the Tigers comeback was complete.

FULL-TIME: Manly Sea Eagles 32-34 Wests Tigers


Squads


Manly Sea Eagles

Funa, Taufua, Parker, Harper, Hopoate, Schuster, Cherry-Evans, Fonua-Blake, Levi, Taupau, Gosiewski, Sironen, Trbojevic

Interchanges: Croker, Waddell, Keppie, Paseka

Tries: Harper (2), Taufua, Gosiewski, Funa, Trbojevic

Goals: Cherry-Evans (4/6)


Wests Tigers

Mbye, Nofoaluma, J Leilua, Doueihi, Kepaoa, Marshall, Brooks, Aloiai, Grant, Mikaele, Garner, L Leilua, Twal

Interchanges: Eisenhuth, Taylor, Liddle, McIntyre

Tries: Nofoaluma (2), Mbye, Doueihi (2)

Goals: Doueihi (4/5)


Referee: H. Perenara

Touch Judges: J. Stone, G. Badger

Video Referee: B. Norrie


 

Image Source: @SeaEagles (twitter)

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