Wests Tigers NYC side have suffered a 44-24 defeat to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in their Round 15 clash on Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Originally scheduled for Friday night but moved due to poor playing conditions at Brookvale Oval, the game was moved to Saturday morning at Campbelltown — despite it being an away game for Wests Tigers. However, it was the Sea Eagles who quickly took the lead in the match, with Hugh Pratt crashing over from dummy half to score.
Pratt converted his own try to give the Sea Eagles a 6-0 lead after nine minutes.
Wests Tigers would hit back in the 18th minute thanks to some enterprising play from Bayley Sironen, who managed to keep the play alive on last tackle despite defenders draped all over him — flicking the ball back on the inside for Watson Heleta.
The Junior Kiwi centre was able to break a tackle close to the line and crash over near the posts, with Veiru Mapesone’s conversion leveling the match at 6-6 after 20 minutes.
After some strong defence, in particular from Marion Seve on the right edge, Wests Tigers appeared destined to take their first lead of the morning after 30 minutes when Esan Marsters burst through the line and kicked ahead for winger Mason Cerruto.
Unfortunately, Cerruto was unable to cleanly collect the ball with the line begging, letting the Sea Eagles off the hook and crucially changing the momentum of the match.
From that error, Manly-Warringah were able to work the ball down field and quickly took the lead through Addison Demetriou, who beat several tackles out wide to score.
Pratt’s missed conversion saw the score remain at 10-6, but back-to-back tries in the following sets to Nicho Hynes and Jesse Ramien — both converted by Pratt — quickly saw the Sea Eagles pull further in front and hold a 22-6 lead late in the first-half.
Pratt would add a penalty goal right on the stroke of half-time to give the Sea Eagles a surprising 24-6 lead at half-time given the chances Wests Tigers had seen.
The second half began as the first finished for the Sea Eagles, with Demetriou taking advantage of an overlap on the right to get outside of Seve and score his second try after 46 minutes, with Pratt’s unsuccessful conversion leaving Manly’s lead at 28-6.
Manly-Warringah looked to have the game all wrapped up in the 51st minute when Riley Travers collected a short ball to score his first of the afternoon — giving the visitors an insurmountable 34-6 lead, before Wests Tigers fought their way back.
Two tries to Veiru Mapsone after some good offloading and a try to Esan Marsters after a dropped bomb — all in the space of five minutes — saw Wests Tigers sensationally reduce the score to 34-24 with 15 minutes to play and threaten to steal the win.
However, a controversial try to Ramien with 10 minutes remaining saw the Sea Eagles kill the momentum and restore a 40-24 lead before a try in the final minute to Brad Parker saw the home side extend their winning margin to 44-24 as the siren sounded.
Wests Tigers NYC side will look to bounce back and keep their top eight hopes alive when they take on the Penrith Panthers in Round 16 at Leichhardt Oval on June 28.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 44 (Demetriou 2, Ramien 2, Pratt, Hynes, Travers, Parkers tries; Pratt 6/8 goals) def. Wests Tigers 24 (Mapesone 2, Heleta, Marsters tries; Mapesone 4/4 goals).