What: NRL Round 4 Who: Manly Sea Eagles v Sydney Roosters Result: Manly 8-0 When and Where: Friday, March 28 – Allianz Stadium Crowd: 14,902 Match Rating: 7/10
80 Minutes in 80 Seconds: The Eagles have done it again. Not even the loss of enforcer Glenn Stewart could stop the rampaging Sea Eagles who won yet another hard-fought battle. In a game where they dominated possession, with an 11-2 penalty count and 51% off possession, it’s hard to say they didn’t deserve it. The woeful completion rate of 17/33 didn’t offer any help for the Roosters either. It was quite obvious why these two were in the grand final last year, and they picked up where they left off. Roosters fans will feel the refs were against them, and who can blame them, but standout performances from Daly Cherry-Evans and Steve Matai sealed the win. Who Killed It: It’s hard to go past Daly Cherry-Evans in this one. His brilliant vision, playmaking and never-say-die attitude has shaped him into the superstar he is today. His desperate try-saving tackle on Boyd Cordner in the fifth minute showed was outstanding and really set the tone for the Manly boys. Matai was also a standout, most notably having a hand in Cheyse Blair’s try in the corner through distributing a brilliant pass for the Extradited Eel to go diving over.
Who Stank It Up: In a game where his team needed him to stand up, Michael Jennings found himself suffocated out wide. Jennings only made 8 runs for 50 metres. Although he finished with a solid 20 tackles, he didn’t offer that attacking genius he possesses, in which we have seen him tear backlines apart. Roosters’ fans will see the referees as the biggest mishap, but their lack of discipline was ultimately their downfall.
What Do I Need To Know: One incident led to a huge blow for both sides with a Jared Waerea-Hargreaves high shot on Glenn Stewart landing both influential players in hot water. Waerea-Hargreaves was put on report for the shot that left Stewart dazed and requiring medical attention which ultimately led him off the field due to the new concussion guidelines. Given his record, Waerea-Hargreaves could struggle to get out of this one.
Look Up Ahead: The hot and cold Roosters outfit takes on the Bulldogs, Friday night at home. The Sea Eagles play Wests Tigers in a classic Sunday afternoon fixture at Leichhardt Oval.
What: NRL Round 2 Who: Manly Sea Eagles v South Sydney Rabbitohs Result: Manly 14-12 When and Where: Friday March 14 – Bluetongue Stadium Crowd: 15,120 Match Rating: 7/10
80 Minutes in 80 Seconds: Round two of the NRL season got off to a flier, with the Friday night blockbuster between the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs certainly delivering. The first ten minutes were extremely intense, with Manly’s barnstorming runs, crunching tackles and expansive attacking play putting the Rabbits on the back foot. However, the game soon turned very sloppy, with both sides turning over possession all too easily – onlookers would have been forgiven for thinking the ball was covered in soap. Despite coach Geoff Toovey branding his team “underdogs” coming into the match, the Sea Eagles came out flying, crossing over in the corner in the seventh minute through extradited Eel Cheyse Blair. After being kept quiet in an arm wrestle between two monstrous forward packs, the Rabbitohs finally crossed the line following a large break from flier Nathan Merritt, which ultimately led to a try for centre Beau Champion. As the momentum of the game shifted from side to side, not only due to the constant change of possession, but the tough battle in the middle, it was down to the great footwork of Jamie Buhrer breaking the Rabbitohs’ wall of defence and offloading to a free-running Cherry Evans to seal the game for the Eagles in the 64th minute. The match was the full package, with tensions boiling between the Burgess brothers and returning Eagles hard-man Jason King, referee controversies, and some of what we all love about the game so much – that hard-fought, blue-collar brawl between two gritty forward packs. Continue reading “Eagles Clip Bunnies 14-12”→