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The Manly Sea Eagles have defeated the Parramatta Eels 36-24 at Lottoland on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. They will remain in fifth place as Round 18 concludes, with the Eels remaining in sixth place.
Manly dominated the play-the-ball throughout the game. It was really the Tom Trbojevic/Manase Fainu show, with both poking holes through the middle and getting the Sea Eagles on the front foot.
The Sea Eagles scored first in just the third minute with a try to Reuben Garrick in the corner. The Eels would hit back quickly though, with debutante Ethan Parry scoring in the opposite corner.
Parramatta drew further ahead through Brad Takairangi in the 13th minute, the ensuing conversion from Mitchell Moses giving the Eels a 12-6 lead.
The remainder of the half was dominated by the Sea Eagles. Tom Trbojevic and Manase Fainu were leading from the front, poking holes through the Parramatta defence with clever dummy-half running off the back of quick play-the-balls.
A solo try by Daly Cherry-Evans would see the Sea Eagles equalise at 12-all, before a spectacular try to Tom Trbojevic, who stole the ball from Clint Gutherson in mid air in a similar effort to his first try in Origin 2, saw the Sea Eagles take the lead again.
This was followed by tries to Brad Parker and Addin Fonua-Blake, giving the Sea Eagles a 26-12 lead at the break.
Manly started the second half with a bang, with Reuben Garrick scoring his second try of the game in the 43rd minute. This was followed by another try to Garrick as he completed his hat trick in the 56th minute, in what would be Manly’s final scoring play of the game.
The Eels would trouble the scorers twice again, with Nathan Brown and Maika Sivo scoring in the 61st and 71st minutes respectively.
However the comeback never looked likely as the Eels weren’t able to hang onto possession for long enough to really trouble Manly.
Errors began to creep into the match late, preventing the Eels from building any serious pressure, the Sea Eagles eventually running away 36-24 point winners over their opponents.
Manly Sea Eagles 36
Parramatta Eels 24
Round 18 of the NRL concludes with a huge clash between archrivals the Manly Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale’s Lottoland! Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 4:05pm (AEST).
Given the current state of the ladder (particularly how condensed it is with just five competition points separating 13th and fifth), this is a crucial game for both sides. Both sit on 20 competition points in positions fifth and sixth, with the Sea Eagles ahead only on points differential.
The winner of this game is looking at finishing the round in 5th, potentially on the same points as the Roosters and Raiders in fourth and third respectively. They will also be in touching distance of a top four finish come the end of the season.
The loser on the other hand could sink as low as seventh (eighth is a mathematical possibility – although not a likely one) and will be staring down the barrel of dropping out of the finals race altogether if they can’t get their season back on track in the coming rounds.
Clashes between the Sea Eagles and the Eels are typically close and heated. There is plenty of animosity between the two clubs dating back to the 70s and 80s. Needless to say, this game will not disappoint – the Brookvale faithful will get their money’s worth on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Not much to discuss in the way of team changes for this one. The Eels have kept the same 17 together after their victory over the Wests Tigers, while the Sea Eagles are welcoming back NSW Origin star Tom Trbojevic. He will take his rightful place at fullback, with Brendan Elliot dropping out of the side.
Manly should be too strong at home with the return of superstar Tom Trbojevic adding plenty of firepower to their attack.
The Eels have put together their best run of the season with three wins in their last three outings. They won’t go down easily.
But the Brookvale crowd should see Manly get the rub of the green for most of the game. They’ll be very hard to stop.
Manly by 6
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 4:05pm (AEST).
Where: Lottoland, Sydney
TV: Channel 9, Fox League
Streaming: NRL Digital pass, 9 Now, Kayo Sports
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Brad Parker 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Haumole Olakauatu 21. Lloyd Perrett
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Josh Hoffman 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Nathan Brown 14. Jaeman Salmon 15. Marata Niukore 16. David Gower 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Oregon Kaufusi 19. Daniel Alvaro 20. Will Smith 21. Ethan Parry