The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have kicked off their 2015 Dick Smith Auckland Nines campaign with a last minute victory (22 – 17) over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
As predicted, the opening clash of the Nines was a fast, action packed, free flowing affair and the tries flowed from the opening minute. Brad Takairangi put the first points of the tournament on the board when he capitalised on a Manly handling error close to the try line before a quick Manly counter punch saw the scores level.
Reece Robinson looked dangerous down the right wing with ball in hand, and after a cut out pass from half back Chris Sandow, he crashed over for his opening four-pointer for the Blue and Gold with the Eels taking a 8-4 lead into half time.
The tries kept flowing after the break as Manly took the lead with a converted try, however, the hard running John Folau made the most of his first appearance in the Blue and Gold for 2015 as he bulldozed his way over the line to put the Eels back in front.
As the game entered the final minutes, Manly looked to be in control after scoring a bonus-zone try, however backrower Kenny Edwards sparked the Eels attack with some fancy footwork in our own half. The backrower lifted the tempo of the game with a single run, and as the team rolled down the field, Robinson found himself in open space to fly down the sideline to score his second try of the match.
With minutes to go and a grand stand finish to kick off the tournament, Eels winger Halauafu Lavaka finished off a quick backline shift to score in the corner to secure the lead for the Eels, 22-17 and the Eels victory.