The Roar
The Roar

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Manly leave easy points on the field, cost themselves win

The bittersweet realisation that a grand final win can only be followed by a slide down the ladder. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Roar Guru
16th September, 2013
18

I found myself watching the Roosters-Sea Eagles game on Saturday night in constant terror.

Every time the whistle touched the referee’s lips inside the Roosters 20m line I held my breath like a neophyte poker player, petrified that their bluff was about to be called.

I kept waiting for the signal that would be the death knell for the tricolours, Jamie Lyon casually raising the right arm with a finger extended towards the goal posts that would serve as the Roosters’ gallows.

Surely then a small lad carrying the instrument of the Roosters’ demise, a humble kicking tee, would emerge and the Manly skipper would slowly begin to dismantle my beloved boys from Bondi.

But every time I was able to exhale as the ball was flipped to Cherry-Evans or, in more baffling circumstances, a petrified Matt Ballin to be kicked over the sideline as they eschewed the two points.

When the siren rang I still couldn’t understand our good fortune why the Sea-Eagles had left eight to ten points on the field.

Were there style points that carried over to the next round of the finals if you scored a try?

The game was always going to be a rugged low scoring contest between the two stingiest defensive teams in the competition.

Adding to that the Roosters were far and away the poorer team on that field.

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While we capitalised on our one opportunity, born from a bit of good fortune and individual speed, we never looked like mounting a serious attacking raid that was going to ratchet up the scoreboard.

When the siren sounded the NRL bookkeepers had decided that the Roosters hadn’t pierced the Sea Eagles line a single time.

Meanwhile, Lyon tore the left hand side of the Roosters’ defensive line to shreds as Williams was given enough time and space to figure out exactly what happened to the writers in the last two seasons of the series Lost.

But time and again the Roosters scrambled and through a combination of Manly errors, scrambling defence and a willingness to concede a penalty the tide was repelled.

Surely at some point it must have felt to Manly like they were never going to cross the line, in which case why try?

The Roosters kept holding the opportunity out there but it seemed that Manly viewed taking the two as an admission that they couldn’t penetrate the last line of defence.

And yes it may have been, but they also would have won the game.

Here’s to hoping all the other NRL teams want to win the battle of the headline rather than the scoreboard.

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