The Parrramatta Eels NYC side have gone down to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in their opening clash of the 2017 NYC competition, suffering a 38-20 defeat at Lottoland this afternoon.
The Parramatta Eels NYC side was side filled with plenty of youth, as Head Coach Luke Burt selected a 17 with the majority never playing in the NYC competition, however the young Blue and Gold held their own against a Manly side looking to impress at home.
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles struck first through Haumole Olakau’atu. Off the back of a penalty, the Sea Eagles bombed the Eels and the well weighted cross-field kick saw winger John Fonua unable to take the bomb under pressure. The spilling ball ended up in the hands of Olakau’atu who planted the ball for a converted try, Manly taking a 6-0 in the opening five minutes.
The Sea Eagles continued to camp down the Eels end for the next 10 minutes of play, but the young Eels defence held strong, repelling wave after wave of attack.
As the Eels eventually made their way down field, half Dean Matterson split through the Sea Eagles defence. A draw and pass on the fullback saw Steve Dresler in support who crashed over out wide to score the Eels first try of the afternoon. Anthony Layoun knocking over the conversion to level the scores after 13 minutes.
The Sea Eagles struck back quickly. Winger Alfred Smalley found some space down the sideline before offloading to forward Josh Martin in support. The forward won the footrace to the line and the Sea Eagles took a 12-6 lead.
The home side found themselves over again in the 23rd minute, when off the back of a repeat set from a drop out, forward Manuse Fainu dummied close to the line, and dove over out wide. The conversion was waved away but the Eels extended their lead to 10.
Whilst the Eels were behind on the scoreboard, the Blue & Gold looked threatening with the ball. As they made their way down field, halves Troy Dargan and Matterson combined with Layoun in a backline shift. The fullback stepped at the line, beating his defender as the Eels closed the gap, 16-10.
With the halftime siren looming, the Eels peppered the Sea Eagles line with plenty of attack. It took an individual effort from Haze Dunster to finally put points on the board, as the winger powered and carried defenders over the line on his way to a four pointer.
A heated exchange in the final few moments of the half saw Eels Tuimavave Afulao and Sea Eagles winger Bilal Maarbani sent to the bin however the half time siren rang shortly after as the Eels trailed 16-14 at half time.
Manly struck first in the second half, through centre Tevita Funa. The centre soared about the Eels defence to take hold of the chip and plant it down for a four pointer.
Funa had his second try in just as many minutes, as he powered his way from 10m out just to the left of the posts.
The Sea Eagles looked in control when they crossed for their third try of the half, with fullback Luke Poslelli crossing under the posts as the Sea Eagles extended their lead to 34-14.
Eels livewire hooker Reed Mahoney was probing around the ruck, and the skilful number 9 crossed over for the Eels in the 65th minute.
However the try to Mahoney was the only four pointer for the Blue & Gold in the second half as the Sea Eagles continued to control the match.
Sea Eagles forward John Tuivaiti ended the fightback, when he crossed for a try in the 75th minute, diving over from dummy half close to the line, as the home side came away with a 38-20 victory.
Eels 20 (Tries: Steve Dresler, Anthony Layoun, Haze Dunster, Reed Mahoney; Goals: Anthony Layoun 2/4)
Sea Eagles 38 (Tries: Tevita Funa (2), Haumole Olaku’atu, Josh Martin, Manuse Fainu, Luke Poslelli, John Neil; Goals: Tevita Funa 5/7)