Rugby League

Undermanned Sea Eagles soar to beat Dragons at home

June 17, 2024 5:24 am

[Source: NRL]

A captain’s knock from Daly Cherry-Evans helped the Sea Eagles overcome injuries to several of their stars and come away with a 30-14 win at 4 Pines Park.

With Rueben Garrick (head knock), Toafofoa Sipley (knee) and Taniela Paseka (thumb) all ruled out early into the match and forward Corey Waddell also spending 45 minutes on the bench, a second half masterclass from Cherry-Evans helped Manly to a season defining win.

An early penalty against Dragons prop Francis Molo for a dangerous tackle gave the Sea Eagles field position and rookie fullback Lehi Hopoate capitalised when he sliced through from 20 metres out to score his first NRL try and also the first for the afternoon.

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The Dragons looked to hit back ten minutes in through Zac Lomax on the right edge but the bunker ruled a knock on in the in goal.

But the visitors were gifted another opportunity just three minutes later when a Cherry-Evans short dropout backfired with Rueben Garrick tapping the ball back and Jacob Liddle pouncing on it to score.

St George went further ahead in the 15th minute when Ben Hunt spotted Garrick down in the line and found Luciano Leilua on the left who turned the ball back inside for Kyle Flanagan to score. Lomax kicked for a 10-4 lead.

Manly came up with a reply late in the half after a stray Zac Lomax flick pass gave the home side a full set from close range and Cherry-Evans sent Haumole Olakau’atu crashing over on the right. Cherry-Evans couldn’t add the extras and the Dragons took a 10-8 lead into the break.

With Garrick (head knock) and Taniela Paseka (thumb) ruled out at half time the Sea Eagles went into the second term significantly undermanned but managed to steal the lead in the 44th minute when Karl Lawton made a break down the left side and found Luke Brooks in support.

The see-sawing contest continued when Lomax busted the line four minutes later and this time made sure he got the ball down to tie things up 14-14.

Manly got on a run late in the half with Hopoate produced some more dazzling speed and footwork to send Ben Trbojevic through before his older brother Jake also cashed in nine minutes later courtesy of a clever Cherry-Evans grubber.

With eight minutes to play the Sea Eagles skipper came up with another pinpoint grubber which this time bounced perfectly for Jason Saab to score in the corner and seal the Round 15 victory.