Manly have re-affirmed their premiership ambitions with a dogged 38 points to 20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 11,905 fans at Brookvale this afternoon.
Coming into today's contest, Manly had been on a roll putting large scorelines on North Queensland and Parramatta. Gold Coast though were looking to arrest an alarming slide that had cost them their top eight spot.
In the 7th minute, Brett Stewart got the Sea Eagles off the mark with his 130th try from the backline movement that Manly had perfected to a tee.
After a glut of possession following a penalty signalling the intent for the first half, Gold Coast stripped the numbers put Kevin Gordon in.
Following the concession of that try the Manly machine clicked into gear, forcing the Titans into retreat. There was a pattern that developed with penalties turning into points almost instantly.
It started in the 24th minute with David Williams on the receiving end of a backline movement that worked to perfection. Jamie Lyon followed suit in the 29th minute from a similar move making it 16-4.
Steve Matai and Jamie Buhrer got in on the act in the 32nd and 35th minute. Matai doing the work himself from a grubber that he chased through and Buhrer ran the simple line to overpower the fullback to blow the scoreline to 24-4 just before the break.
Gold Coast showed they weren't going away with whimper as David Mead crossed from a rocket pass from Aiden Sezer. Sezer conversely put the conversion over to give us a 24-10 scoreline at the half.
The Titans had clawed their way back into the contest but shot themselves in the foot when a loose ball was dived upon by Cherry-Evans. He was held down for a professional foul by Ryan James who was sin binned.
It seemed the man disadvantage spurred the Titans on as Kevin Gordon got his second try of the afternoon from a pinpoint kick by Albert Kelly. They were back in the contest despite being down to twelve.
Manly profited from their advantage in the 57th minute as Justin Horo was too strong for the Titan's fullback after some simple catch and pass.
Once again the Titans worked back into the game albeit from a slice of luck. Aiden Sezer snapped up a Glenn Stewart kick to race the required distance to put them behind by eight and letting Manly know they couldn't canter to a victory.
A final effort from Manly with a two try salvo between the 76th and 79th minute with Nick Skinner getting his first NRL four pointer from a Foran kick that was tapped on by Justin Horo.
Jorge Taufua who is a regular on the scoresheet added his name in the shadow of full-time to finish off a splendid display by the Sea Eagles 38 points to 20.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38 Gold Coast Titans 20
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brett Stewart
2 points - Justin Horo
1 point - Jamie Lyon
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (38)
Tries: Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Steve Matai, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Nick Skinner, Jorge Taufua
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (3/8)
GOLD COAST TITANS (20)
Tries: Kevin Gordon (2), Aidan Sezer, David Mead
Conversions: Aidan Sezer (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 14. Richie Fa’aoso 15. Jamie Buhrer 16. James Hasson 17. Nick Skinner
Titans: 1. Jordan Rankin 2. Kevin Gordon 20. Steve Michaels 4. Jamie Dowling 5. David Mead 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Bailey 9. Matt Srama 10. Luke Douglas 11. David Taylor 16. Ben Ridge 13. Ashley Harrison
Interchange: 12. Mark Minichiello 15. Ryan James 17. Beau Falloon 18. Luke O'Dwyer
For the Gold Coast, Brad Takairangi & Mark Ioane are OUT, with Steve Michaels starting in the centres for Takairangi, and Luke O'Dwyer taking Ioane's bench spot. Mark Minichiello also drops back to the bench with Ben Ridge to start.
Scored by Brett Stewart. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
That was simple and a name that is permanently etched on the Brookvale scoreboard, Brett Stewart. A nice outside-inside play found Stewart in a huge hole where he gallops to the line unchallenged. Lyon with his first attempt, slots it.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 6-0
Scored by Kevin Gordon. Conversion attempt by Aidan Sezer unsuccessful.
Yes they can! Some lovely ball movement and quick hands from the Titans found a two-on-one for Gordon to carry a defender across for the TRY. Sezer lines up his first opportunity but it curls too much, missing.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 6-4
Scored by David Williams. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
Manly are running along at full pace now - It's a move that has been practiced hundreds of times on the training paddock, Glenn to Brett to Williams who plants it down. Jamie Lyon from wide, slots it.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12-4
Scored by Jamie Lyon. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
Same play as the last TRY but to the right this time, a lovely pass from Brett Stewart sending Jamie Lyon away. Now Lyon will line up to convert his own try and misses.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 16-4
Scored by Steve Matai. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY. Gold Coast will learn quickly, errors will be punished. Steve Matai has an overlap but decides to stab one through for himself, regathers beating Dowling to score! Jamie Lyon misses his second for the afternoon.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 20-4
Scored by Jamie Buhrer. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
Foran goes don't forget about my ball playing skills! He gives Buhrer a lovely short ball to crash through the line, beat Rankin for the try. Lyon having a shocker with the boot today.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-4
Scored by David Mead. Conversion attempt by Aidan Sezer successful.
Some nice movement from the Titans - Sezer commits his defender and rockets a pass to Mead who goes over for the simple try. Sezer with the final kick of the half, converts.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-10
Ryan James is sent to the sin bin.
He is sin binned for a professional foul. Manly right on the attack now.
Scored by Kevin Gordon. Conversion attempt by Aidan Sezer successful.
The game is back on! Albert Kelly put a kick right on the try-line allowing Gordon to leap and plant the ball down. Sezer slips but still converts.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-16
Scored by Justin Horo. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
Just as Gold Coast got back into the game they are forced back out. The left side was open due to James' sin bin thus it was simple catch and pass to Horo who is too big, too strong. Lyon misses again.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 28-16
Scored by Aidan Sezer. Conversion attempt by Aidan Sezer unsuccessful.
Well, well, well.. Glenn Stewart stabs a kick through for his wingers but it only went to Sezer who had open pasture. He goes the required distance to put the Titans within eight! Sezer now up to convert his own try, misses.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 28-20
Scored by Nick Skinner. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon successful.
The titans would not go away but I think they will now! A kick through for the Eagles is knocked back to Taufua off to Horo then Skinner who gets the simple try. Lyon adds two more.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 34-20
Scored by Jorge Taufua. Conversion attempt by Jamie Lyon unsuccessful.
There is a cherry on top for the Sea Eagles! Brenton Lawrence started it with a long break down the middle before being rounded up. Quick play the ball, Stewart - Buhrer - Taufua for the TRY. Jamie Lyon steps up and fades it away, missing.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38-20