The Manly Sea Eagles have dominated an error-ridden St George Illawarra outfit to run out winners by 38-12 at WIN Stadium today.
Following a week of club turmoil, the Sea Eagles were tipped to be thrashed by the Dragons who were celebrating the return of star players Trent Barrett and Shaun Timmins.
At half time, Manly held a handy 12-6 lead and looked to be dominating play just wide of the ruck which restricted the Dragons' backline.
With the wind at their backs, Saints were able to tie the match 12-all in the second half but were often their own worst enemies as the handling errors mounted.
The Sea Eagles took control and Saints capitulated - the flood gates opening and Manly running in five unanswered tries late in the match. Ben Walker getting a double as the Sea Eagles outclassed the Dragons seven tries to two.
League Unlimited Player of the Year 3 - B Walker (Sea Eagles) 2 - J Ferris (Sea Eagles) 1 - A Watmough (Sea Eagles)
Scorers: Dragons 12 Tries: Kite, Cooper Goals: Riddell 2/2 Sea Eagles 38 Tries: Walker 2, MacDougall, Watmough, Ferris, Randall, Hopoate Goals: Ferris 2/3, Walker 3/6
Sunday 13 April 2003 Kickoff 3:00 PM WIN Stadium Crowd: 13,150 Referee: Stephen Clark Penalties: Dragons 7-4 Tackles: Dragons 323 - Manly 233 Most Tackles: Dragons, L Bailey 44 (Dragons); Manly, A Watmough 33 Completions: Dragons 20/39; Manly 35/47
By the clock: 10 min: TRY - Dragons. Brent Kite goes in to to score. Conversion Riddell. Dragons 6-0
13 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Ben MacDougall scores. Conversion Jason Ferris unsuccessful. Dragons 6-4
19 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Anthony Watmough scores. Manly getting plenty of possession and field position. Ferris conversion successful. Sea Eagles 10-6
37 min: PENALTY GOAL - Sea Eagles. Ferris successful. Sea Eagles 12-6
HALF TIME: Manly getting a greater share of posession with six extra completions and have been able to convert this into a handy half time lead. Saints being let down by handling errors have been forced to do 168 tackles to the visitors 128. Manly are dominating with some grinding ruck play in both defence and with hit ups. But Saints will have the assistance a strong breeze in the second half.
53 min: TRY - Dragons. Matt Cooper scores. Saints being their own worse enemy at times with mounting handling errors but have managed to tie the game up. Conversion Riddell. 12-all
59 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Ben Walker. Conversion Walker unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 16-12
70 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Jason Ferris scores the sealer. Walker conversion successful. Eagles 22-12
73 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Ben Walker gets a double as the Dragons capitulate. Conversion successful. Sea Eagles 28-12
77 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Chad Randall scores his first NRL try stepping over some ordinary defence close to the line. Conversion right in front from Walker. Sea Eagles 34-12
80 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. John Hopoate intercepts and runs 85 metres, dancing the last 20 to rub salt into the wounds of a beaten Dragons outfit . Conversion Walker unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 38-12
FULL TIME: Amazing turnaround of fortunes for Manly who chalk up their first win of the year. For Saints, its back to the drawing board. Sea Eagles 38-12