The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have put the Sea Eagles to the sword 22-10 at Brookvale Oval in a thumping clash on Thursday night.
The brutal opening passages of the game saw the Blue and Gold starved for field position and unable to find the Sea Eagles end, and after five minutes of peppering the Eels line, the Sea Eagles looked to have drawn first blood.
Following the kick through, Brett Stewart pounced on the ball in goal, only to be denied by the Bunker.
The Sea Eagles halves targeted winger Clint Gutherson with their aerial kicking game, but the Blue and Gold winger proved safe on the Eels’ right edge. And after 10 minutes when a welcome penalty for a hand in the ruck left the Eels 18 metres out, Parramatta elected to attempt the penalty goal.
Fullback Michael Gordon sent the penalty goal sailing over to give the Blue and Gold a slim 2-point lead in the early stages of the game.
The bruising pace of the game didn’t fall away through the first half, as trainers took a moment to attend to Eels lock Tepai Moeroa after a heavy tackle. Prop Daniel Alvaro was pinged for a hand on the ball in the ruck, and Manly found touch 26 metres out putting them in prime position to press for points.
A soaring pass from the Sea Eagles found Brett stewart who tapped it on to his winger, Tom Trbojevic, who drew the defenders and popped the ball back inside to Jamie Lyon to score.
Lyon converted his own try to give the Sea Eagles a hard-earned 6-2 lead, and Brett Stewart looked likely to strike again before being ankle tapped in Eels territory. And when the Eels conceded a penalty defending their own line, the Sea Eagles opted to add 2 points of they own with a Jamie Lyon penalty goal.
A penalty in the 25th minute at last gave the visitors a chance to spend a few tackles inside Sea Eagles’ territory with back-to-back sets, and when the Sea Eagles regained possession and made a dangerous break via Tom Trbojevic, veteran second-rower ran the youngster down to save an almost certain try.
Some Semi Radradra brilliance up the left edge, passing to Corey Norman to ground the ball in goal, was controversially denied by the Bunker for obstruction in the 33rd minute.
But on the back of an error from the Sea Eagles as Dylan Walker failed to collect a Corey Norman cross-field kick, Brad Takairangi pounced for the Blue and Gold, scooping up the football to score in the corner. Michael gordon converted cleanly to lock up the game at 8-8.
Michael Jennings came incredibly close in the 36th minute on the end of a Kieran Foran cross-field kick, but the Bunker denied his four-pointer for grounding, sending both sides back to the sheds tied 8-8.
The second half saw no respite from the intensity of the opening forty minutes of play, and Brad Takairangi looked likely in the 48th minute as he grabbed a Corey Norman grubber and grounded in goal.
Ruled offside and no try, the Eels were left to endure a barrage of Sea Eagles set, as the home side applied consistent pressure for four back-to-back sets on the goal line.
Receiving a penalty on the fourth set, Manly elected to kick for goal again, taking the score to 10-8 with just over 20 minutes of play remaining.
61 minutes in, the Eels found themselves in perfect position on the back of a penalty, spreading the ball wide from Foran to Takairangi to Gutherson, but the final pass was ruled toward to ground, leaving Parramatta trailing 2 points.
Sea Eagles prop Darcy Lussick claimed a try in the 65th minute, only to find that the Bunker disagreed.
69 minutes in, the Blue and Gold threatened on the left edge via Semi Radradra, with the Manly defenders pulling the big winger down.
The visitors moved the ball to the right edge to chip, and Clint Gutherson cleaned up the loose kick to flick it back inside, Parramatta put in a grubber in goal, and Michael Jennings was the man to leap onto the loose ball for a try in his 200th game.
Trailing 14-10 in the final ten minutes, the Sea Eagles looked battered but kept persisting in attack, while the Eels looked the fresher of the two sides.
In the 73rd minute Jennings struck again, as he cleaned up a loose kick for his second try of the day and an 18-10 lead for the Blue and Gold.
Gordon’s conversion was waved away keeping the Eels’ lead to 20-10 as the Blue and Gold Army chant went up around Brookvale Oval.
Semi Radradra capped off the night when he ran around the ragged Sea Eagles defenders on the edge to score in the 78th minute and put the game well and truly to bed.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 22 (Jennings 2, Takairangi, Radradra. Gordon: 2/4. Penalty goals - Gordon 1/1)
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles - 10 (Lyon. Lyon: 1/1. Penalty goals - Lyon 2/2)