NRL: Three of the best for Warriors

By Michael Brown

Dane Nielsen of the Warriors (R) and Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors celebrate a try during the round 13 NRL match between the Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles. Photo / Getty Images
Dane Nielsen of the Warriors (R) and Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors celebrate a try during the round 13 NRL match between the Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles. Photo / Getty Images

Warriors 18
Manly 16

The Warriors showed last week they can do style with their big win over Brisbane and today they proved they can do substance with a grinding victory over Manly.

They showed plenty of character to come back from an early 12-0 deficit with three converted tries of their own to win their third-straight game and just their first over Manly in the last seven games between the two sides.

They are now making good progress up the ladder and are, despite their woes in the early phase of the year, in sight of the top eight roughly halfway through the season.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey even said before this match the Warriors still had the potential to win the competition this year.

That is still a distant dream but they are building nicely and appear to have proved their humiliating defeat to Penrith was simply an aberration.

The early signs were worrying for the Warriors as Manly built a 12-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes and many began to wonder if they were watching the `real' Warriors.

But the reality is they didn't see the ball. The Sea Eagles were ruthless in their execution and also enjoyed a slew of penalties.

In one period, they attacked for 13 of 15 sets and Warriors' line couldn't hold. Justin Horo crossed for the first try, when Kieran Foran drew two defenders and offloaded, and Peta Hiku doubled the lead when he took advantage of a defensive misread from Konrad Hurrell.

Manly, who showed good footwork at the line, attacked down the Warriors' right edge of Hurrell, Ngani Laumape and Shaun Johnson with only Simon Mannering to babysit them.
It could have gone horribly wrong at that stage, especially against one of the best sides in the competition but things changed dramatically.

The second 20 minutes of the half was all the Warriors as they finally got their hands on the ball and they posted two tries of their own, firstly to a hard running Elijah Taylor and then when Glen Fisiiahi, who was playing at fullback in place of an injured Kevin Locke (hip), latched onto a Feleti Mateo offload.

Amid that run, the Warriors had the ball for 12 out of 14 sets as Manly infringed.

The game then went into the proverbial arm wrestle and Manly are one of the best at it, but the Warriors held their own. The execution of both sides was a little off but it was a compelling contest and the only difference was Manly's superior kicking game.

The scoreboard attendant wasn't called into action for 36 minutes after Fisiiahi's try until Konrad Hurrell bulldozered his way past and over four would-be tacklers. Slowly the Warriors had gained the ascendancy and forced a couple of repeat sets.

It set up a tense final 12 minutes, which went up a few notches when firstly David Williams knocked the ball on when trying to ground the ball over the line and then Steve Matai scored after the impressive Hiku offloaded.

Significantly, Jamie Lyon couldn't convert from the sideline. In the end it was the only thing that separated the two sides.

And that was just fine for Warriors fans.

Warriors 18 (Elijah Taylor, Glen Fisiiahi, Konrad Hurrell tries; Shaun Johnson 3 gls) Manly 16 (Justin Horo, Peta Hiku, Steve Matai tries; Jamie Lyon 2 gls). HT: 12-12.


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