Wests Tigers have suffered a 10-point defeat to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval, with the home side coming away with a 30-20 win.
It was Manly Warringah who would post first points on the back of a penalty in their first set of six, with skipper Brett Stewart throwing a dummy and sliding over on the left edge. Feleti Mateo converted from near touch to make it a 6-0 lead after just four minutes.
The Sea Eagles continued to apply plenty of pressure in the early stages, however Kevin Naiqama turned the tide with an intercept and was brought down just 25 metres from the line. Mitchell Moses capitalised from the ensuing play to cross for his first try of 2015.
Pat Richards made no mistake with the tough conversion to even things back up at 6-all after 14 minutes.
With the home side still enjoying the majority of field position, it was Wests Tigers’ turn to go back on the attack and fullback James Tedesco pulled off a classy touch on the left edge with a ‘bat-on’ cut-out pass to find Pat Richards in the corner. The sharp-shooter had a rare miss with the conversion but his side held a 10-6 advantage after 26 minutes.
The Sea Eagles closed out the first half with two quick tries, the first from centre Steve Matai and next right on the stroke of half-time to Keiran Foran. Mateo converted both tries to put his side in front 18-10 at the break.
With a big second half needed from Wests Tigers, Manly Warringah looked to be first to score through Daly Cherry-Evans. However, the video ref disallowed the four-pointer after replays showed the Queenslander had bobbled the ball in grounding.
Cherry-Evans was at it again soon after though, slicing through the Wests Tigers defence from his own half and kicking inside for Stewart who slid over for his second of the night. Mateo kept his perfect record with the boot to make it a 24-10 lead after 44 minutes.
It was Moses who provided the spark Wests Tigers needed to get back in the match, throwing a perfect cut-out pass to Naiqama who spectacularly went over in the corner. Richards was faced with a daunting conversion once more and couldn’t slot it over as the Sea Eagles’ lead remained at 24-14 after 50 minutes.
Manly-Warringah looked to have all but wrapped things up with a try to interchange forward Ligi Sao in the 67th minute, as Mateo landed his fifth conversion for a 30-14 lead.
Wests Tigers gallantly fought on though as Moses claimed his second try of the night, showing great awareness to scoop up a loose ball and force his side’s way back into the game.
Richards made it a 10-point ball-game with the conversion, with the game well and truly in the balance with seven minutes to play.
Wests Tigers’ comeback was in full force with plenty of pressure on home side’s try-line, with Tim Simona sliding over in the dying stages only to be denied by the video referee.
The team will aim to turn things around next Sunday afternoon in front of a home crowd at Leichhardt Oval against Penrith Panthers on Sunday, June 28.
FULL TIME — Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 30 (Stewart 2, Foran, Sao, Matai tries; Mateo 5/5 conversions) defeated Wests Tigers 20 (Moses 2, Naiqama, Richards tries; Richards 2/4 goals).