A relentless Manly Sea Eagles have put an amateurish Parramatta to the sword 54-0 at a baking hot Lottoland on Sunday afternoon – their biggest ever win against the Eels.
The list of positives for Trent Barrett's men included the sublime form of skipper Daly Cherry-Evans (who kicked nine goals from 10 attempts) and lock Jake Trbojevic, a confidence-boosting hit-back for playmaker Lachie Croker, absolutely impenetrable goal-line and edge defence and a never-waning sense of urgency and discipline in temperatures that hovered in the high-30s.
The shopping list of problems for Eels coach Brad Arthur included an appalling lack of discipline; almost all of the 12 penalties they conceded were late-set piggyback penalties to help their opponents into attacking range.
They were bundled into touch while flirting with the sideline on three separate occasions and halfback Mitch Moses was sin-binned for the second straight week – this time for back-chatting the referee. Their sieve-like middle defence meant Jorge Taufua's 80th-minute try was the first by any of Manly's back five with five separate members of the forward pack crossing for tries.
Match: Sea Eagles v Eels
Round 2 -
Venue: Lottoland, Sydney
Hooker Cam King's afternoon finished half an hour in when he went low on Shaun Lane and was concussed; back-rower Brad Takairangi joined him when he copped a stray elbow to the face in the second half.
The Eels conceded a penalty from Manly's first touch of the game when they were offside from their own last-play kick from the first set of the game. A big Manly set culminated in a line drop out followed by Cherry-Evans skipping right then left then through some ordinary defence to open the scoring in the fourth minute.
The halfback drilled a quality 40/20 from the next set which was backed up by hooker Api Koroisau burrowing through more soft defence.
Another big set from Manly earned another line drop out and if the Eels thought a poor Taupau offload would ease the pressure a Kirisome Auva'a drop off the scrum heaped the pressure back on.
Rookie half Lachie Croker sent Addin Fonua-Blake between Jarryd Hayne and Mitch Moses for 18-0 and when Taupau dropped it off the ensuing kick off, the Eels' first attacking chance came with them having made 69 tackles to 14 and already running on empty.
A brief respite from Manly's scoring avalanche featured two no-try rulings as first Hayne then King dropped it over the line.
Both of those were followed by late-set penalties and the second of those brought a try to Curtis Sironen when he received a nice short ball from Cherry-Evans for 24-0 at the half-hour mark.
More ill-timed penalties from the Eels helped Manly again camp on their line – a phase that included a long delay for the King head knock – before Croker and Jake Trbojevic combined with the playmaker bagging his maiden NRL try for a stunning 30-0 half-time lead.
The Eels enjoyed some attacking ball early in the second half but the staunch Manly defence was more than up to the task. The Manly attack had no such difficulties when they inevitably got back in range as Jake Trbojevic received a lovely late offload from Lloyd Perrett for a well-earned try.
It was two tries in three minutes (courtesy of another late-set penalty conceded by the Eels) when Sironen bagged his double off a neat Jackson Hastings grubber.
A soft try up the middle to bench prop Perrett made it 48-0 then Manly rubbed some salt in the wounds with a penalty goal to bring up the half century.
With full-time looming, one last long-range movement against some ragged defence culminated in Taufua crossing out wide to ice the 54-0 result.