William Botoulas, Melbourne Correspondent
Manly came to AAMI Park without their
captain, five-eighth and star lock and should have walked out with the two
Leading 19-10 with nine minutes left, the
Sea Eagles surrendered two tries before eventually going down to arch rivals
Melbourne 22-19 in front of 13, 273 fans.
Despite missing key personnel the visitors
looked the better side for much of the match but may have missed the cooler,
more experienced heads of Jamie Lyon, Kieran Foran and Glenn Stewart in the
Just one successful conversion from five
attempts had Manly supporters praying for the boot of their skipper who was
left watching 10,000 kilometers away.
Added to this was the fact the usually
resolute Sea Eagles defence was found wanting at crucial moments, surrendering
2,232 metres on the night – significantly higher than its season average of
Although despite losing a game it had well
within its grasp, Manly coach Geoff Toovey was satisfied with much of his side's
performance on the night.
"I thought we were the better side
tonight – the boys for 75 minutes of the game deserved the win," said
"I thought the boys who stepped into
those roles did a good job, we were obviously just not good enough tonight.
"It is a valuable lesson for us all
and we will have to move forward."
Stand-in captain Brett Stewart scored a try
on the night but managed just 29 metres and for the first time in eight matches
did not record a try assist.
The fullback admitted the visitors had no
answer for the wave of Storm momentum in the final 10 minutes.
"They had the momentum in the last 10
minutes and we just could not find our front end like we had for majority of
the game," said Stewart.
"If we don't play for 80 minutes
against a team like that we can lose the game like we did."
Manly will have a long break to rue their
missed chance until they host Newcastle at Brookvale Oval next round on Monday