The Manly Sea Eagles have returned to the winners circle, defeating the Canberra Raiders by 46-30 in the Nations Capital.
In a true game of two halves, it was Canberra that appeared to be the ones that came to play, taking an early 12 point lead. The home side opened the scoring in the 10th minute, when Lincoln Withers gave a good ball to his captain Alan Tongue who carved though the middle of the ruck. Withers backed up nicely, taking the ball back from Tongue to score under the posts.
Twelve minutes later it was over to brilliant young halfback Michael Dobson, who did it all himself from close range, beating more fancied rival Matt Orford in a physical contest close to the line. With Dobson converting both tries the Raiders were looking very healthy indeed.
But Canberra let them back in the game with a late try to fullback Brett Stewart. He backed up a break by winger Michael Robertson with Manly showing how quick their backline is. Following the conversion by Jamie Lyon, Canberra went to the sheds ahead 12-6 in a very tight contest.
Defence may have dominated the first half, but it was attack that took centre stage in the second spell with a combined total of 58 points scored.
It looked as though Canberra may grind out a victory in the early on in the second half, with Tom Learoyd-Lahrs barging over from close range in the 45th minute to push the scores out to 18-6.
Canberra made a mistake from the restart, gifting field position to the Sea Eagles and from there the game went into overdrive.
Manly scored four straight tries with the third one a freakish effort which finally put them in front on the scoreboard.
With Robertson climbing high to take a kick in the 48th minute, followed by a soft try to Michael Monaghan five minutes later, Manly were breathing down Canberra