Sea Eagles handle tough conditions better to secure an easy victory.
The Manly Sea Eagles notched their third win of the NRL season after dispatching of the Wests Tigers 26-0 in wet conditions at Bluetongue Stadium.
Rain before the start of play forced both sides to alter their game plan, with Geoff Toovey’s men proving they have the patience and resilience to again be a premiership force in 2013.
Man-of-the-match and Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans said the side still had plenty of aspects of their game to work on.
“We had half a dozen sets defending on our line and that set up the win,”Cherry Evans said.
“Geoff (Toovey) was mixed really with how he was with our performance, he was unhappy with our drop ball early in the game but he was really happy that we kept them to nil.”
In spite of the final margin, Manly started poorly as they failed to complete a set of six through the first five minutes as they struggled to get out of their own half.
Manly’s Brenton Lawrence and Justin Horo were placed on report for a lifting tackle on Chris Lawrence, with Tigers’ star Benji Marshall opting to go for a penalty but sent the ball wide.
Talented Tigers fullback James Tedesco made a surprise return to the top grade after injuring his ACL last season in the first game in the unusual position of winger.
Wests adjusted to the conditions quicker and sent through a slew of low kicks into Manly’s in-goal area as the Tigers turned the screws, earning five sets in a row in forcing the ball into the in-goal.
After 20 minutes Manly had already been forced to make twice as many tackles as the Tigers, with the Sea Eagles in their own half 83 per cent.
Despite every statistic in favour of the Tigers, it was Manly who were first on the board when Tedesco failed to clean up a kick by Cherry-Evans, with Tom Symonds diving on the spilt ball to score.
The restart by the Tigers then sailed out on the full before, bizarrely, star hooker Robbie Farah was substituted after just half an hour, as the game started to unravel for Wests despite them being behind by just four at the break.
David Williams crossed for Manly early in the second half despite the last pass from Jamie Lyon looking to be forward, with the winger nicknamed the Wolfman, bagging his double minutes later, when Tedesco, playing out of position, was again caught out.
Farah was injected back into the game but the damage has been done with Jamie Lyon’s conversion seeing the score grow to 14-0.
Manly’s lead was all but assured when Cherry-Evans ran 90m to score and put the game away after a bizarre passage of play, with Lyon’s conversion making it 20-0.
Steve Matai put the cherry on top for the Sea Eagles, as they ran out deserving winners 26-0, creating a new unwanted record for the Tigers – the first time they had been kept to zero points since round 12 in 2009.