A brave Wests Tigers side have battled gamely, before going down 28-16 to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles this afternoon in their Round 19 clash at Lottoland.
Playing in front of a strong crowd in sunny conditions at Lottoland, it was the home side who came out of the blocks firing, with Daly Cherry Evans putting Shaun Lane over for his first try of the season after just five minutes of play. An early injury to Jacob Liddle compounded the issue for Wests Tigers, with the hooker taken from the field.
Cherry-Evans continued his blistering start to the day in the ensuing set, kicking an inch-perfect 40/20 to put the Sea Eagles back on the attack. And it didn’t take long for the hosts to double their lead — this time on the left wing as Tom Trbojevic combined with Matthew Wright. Cherry-Evans’ unsuccessful conversion left the scoreline at 8-0.
Struggling to get in to their rhythm early on, the visitors were denied a try to James Tedesco after 20 minutes with his Origin teammate Aaron Woods ruled to have obstructed a fellow blue Jake Trbojevic from making the tackle, letting the home side off.
It would be an unlikely source for Wests Tigers that eventually crossed the try-line, with Joel Edwards wrestling his way over to score his first try since the 2013 NRL season.
Lolohea converted to cut the Sea Eagles’ lead to 8-6 after 23 minutes.
A late offload from Woods put Wests Tigers back on the attack shortly after as Lolohea broke through the line, before a right-footed kick from Luke Brooks gave Wests Tigers a shock lead — Esan Marsters grabbing the try after an error from Luke Kelly.
Lolohea was unable to add the extras this time, leaving the score at 10-8.
The home side would continue to threaten late in the half, but desperate goal-line defence from Ivan Cleary’s side ensured they hit the half-time sheds with a slight lead.
Wests Tigers would make it 16 unanswered points in a row shortly after half-time, when Brooks’ grubbed bounce back off the uprights for the halfback to stroll over and score.
Lolohea’s conversion pushed the visitors stunning lead to 16-8, before an acrobatic finish from Wright saw him cross for his second of the day and cut the lead to 16-14.
With the home side turning the pressure up, it was a blistering run from the opposite winger Akuila Uate that put the Sea Eagles back in front — breaking the line from 40m out before rounding Tedesco to score under the posts with 20 minutes remaining.
Wests Tigers would go close to hitting the lead again, but couldn’t come up with the decisive play on last tackle required to break open the Sea Eagles’ determined defence.
And with a number of close calls going their way, it would be the home side who put the game to bed with eight minutes remaining as the Trbojevic brothers combined to score.
Sea Eagles 28 (Wright 2, Lane, Uate, Trbojevic tries; Cherry-Evans 4/5, Wright 0/1 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Edwards, Marsters, Brooks tries; Lolohea 2/3 goals)