Last played: Titans v Sea Eagles
Manly overcame a slow start and a sluggish finish to secure a 24-16 win at Skilled Park and secure their spot in the top four in their final regular season game of 2012.
Trailing 4-0 having barely had the ball in the opening 15 minutes, the class of the Sea Eagles shone through as they raced to a commanding 18-4 halftime lead through a series of brilliant tries.
The first came from a Daly Cherry-Evans banana kick which bounced awkwardly in-goal and was pounced upon by Brett Stewart. Stewart was involved again when his flick pass found a flying Matt Ballin to score on the left edge, then a stunning try-saving tackle from Kieran Foran was followed by a try from the classy five-eighth as he swooped upon a Jamie Lyon in-field kick.
It looked like the Gold Coast was in for a long night when the Sea Eagles scored again through Jorge Taufua immediately after the break, but Manly relaxed and the Titans added some respectability to the scoreboard with Beau Falloon darting over from dummy-half and Kevin Gordon scoring in the corner to finish their season on some sort of high.
The Gold Coast surprisingly dominated possession with 55 per cent of the ball and ran for 1449 metres to Manly’s 1165 but failed to turn it into points.
The Sea Eagles’ left side combination of Steve Matai and Jorge Taufua impressed, with Matai making 137 metres, seven tackle-breaks and a line-break and Taufua 140 metres, a try and a line-break.
Luke Douglas was superb for the home side with 187 metres and 23 tackles.