Wests Tigers have been defeated 36-22 by the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in front of the biggest crowd at 4 Pines Park since 2011.
A strong first forty minutes from the Sea Eagles left the away side with too much work to do in the second half despite a valiant fight that continued until the final whistle.
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 9 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Asu Kepaoa looked to have opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a spectacular acrobatic effort in the corner, but he was denied by the bunker.
Instead, Manly scored two minutes later through centre Ben Trbojevic.
The highlight of the first half for Wests Tigers fans was a scintillating solo effort from Starford To’a, who bust through the defensive line and streaked downfield before placing a chip kick for himself.
Unfortunately, To'a was unable to convert and the task soon got tougher for Michael Maguire’s side as Stefano Utoikamanu was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements.
The home side capitalised on the man-advantage with back-to-back tries, giving them a 14-0 halftime lead.
After the break, Daly Cherry-Evans extended the lead to eighteen points before Luke Garner got the visitors on the board with a spectacular seventy-metre solo effort.
Wests Tigers then ventured downfield on the following set, with Tyrone Peachey latching onto a deflected grubber kick to cut the lead to just six points.
The home side would soon kick clear once more with tries to Ben Trbojevic and former Wests Tigers prop Josh Aloiai.
Kelma Tuilagi looked to have crossed to cut the lead, but was denied by the officials for the second week in a row.
Manly couldn’t hold out their opposition for long though, as Oliver Gildart stepped past multiple Sea Eagles on the way to scoring his first try in the NRL.
A late try to Reuben Garrick was negated by Joe Ofahengaue, who barged over from dummy-half to reduce the lead to fourteen points.
Despite the result, Michael Maguire will be impressed with the effort of his side who clawed their way to the full-time siren.
Starford To’a, Oliver Gildart, Luke Garner and Tyrone Peachey all ran for over 100 metres in the backline, while Joe Ofahengaue and Jake Simpkin topped the tackle count.