Rugby League

Warriors, Sea Eagles play themselves to a standstill in epic draw

April 13, 2024 7:50 pm

[Source: NRL]

With Daly Cherry-Evans and Shaun Johnson playing starring roles the Sea Eagles and Warriors played out a pulsating 22-22 draw at Go Media Stadium.

Down 22-14 with two minutes to play the Warriors conjured a try to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and then drew level through a Johnson penalty goal to send the game to extra-time but neither team could break the deadlock in golden point.

After both sides traded sets in the opening 10 minutes it was Manly who struck first when Tom Trbojevic took the line on from close range and flicked a pass out the back which deflected into the in goal and was grounded by Cherry-Evans who converted the try for a 6-0 lead.

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A second mistake by Jackson Ford inside the first 13 minutes then handed the Sea Eagles a chance to go on the attack again and Cherry-Evans earned his side a repeat set with a neat grubber but the Warriors got the short dropout right to regain possession.

The Sea Eagles launched a raid down the left side in the 24th minute and Tommy Talau sent a perfectly weighted kick back inside for Cherry-Evans to make it a double.

A bone crunching tackle by Talau and Jake Trbojevic forced an error from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the set from the kick-off and Manly capitalised with Tom Trbojevic sending a perfect pass over the top for Talau to cruise over untouched.

The Sea Eagles came up with their first error of the match in the 30th minute when Tom Trbojevic put it down but the danger was averted when brother Ben produced a great cover tackle on Marcelo Montoya.

With four minutes to play in the half the home side finally got on the board when Tohu Harris showed his ball-playing skills to put Jazz Tevaga over from close range. Johnson converted to make the score 16-6.

Looking like they would head to the sheds down by 10 the Warriors came up with a huge play on the stroke of half-time when Watene-Zelezniak intercepted a Luke Brooks pass and raced 60 metres to score.

The Sea Eagles needed just four minutes to get back on track in the second half when Ben Trbojevic crossed courtesy of a Cherry-Evans pass and the margin was back to 12.

Warriors kingpin Johnson then came up with some dazzling footwork in the 53rd minute to bamboozle Tom Trbojevic after Mitch Barnett and Te Maire Martin had combined to give him space. Johnson missed a relatively easy conversion and the score remained 22-14.

With the Warriors mounting pressure a mistake by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck proved costly as Cherry-Evans earned a repeat set with a grubber but again the home side got a result on a short dropout.

The Warriors continued to push for a fourth try but when Johnson sent an attacking kick dead with six minutes to play it seemed to take the air out of the balloon but the halfback put Watene-Zelezniak over in the corner to set up a grandstand finish.

With the clock winding down to zero, Johnson launched a two-point field goal to try and tie the scores and had his legs taken out by Josh Aloiai so the Warriors received a penalty where the ball landed 12 metres out.

Johnson landed the penalty goal from in front and the game went to golden point before a mistake by Manly in the 84th minute handed the Warriors a chance to win but Harris spilled the ball in a tackle and the opportunity was lost.

Into the second period of extra-time and Johnson missed a field goal shot from 30 metres out to hand Manly a seven-tackle set and Cherry-Evans a long range field goal shot that came up short and the game ended in a draw.

The drawn result was the first since Manly and Newcastle played out a 32-32 draw in Round 5 in Mudgee last year.