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The Sea Eagles defeated the Wests Tigers 22-18 at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford in Round 2 last season.

The Tigers looked the stronger of the sides in the early exchanges, Adam Blair scoring in the 25th minute off a nicely timed left-side raid for a 6-nil advantage. A Benji Marshall penalty goal extended the lead to eight points, before a Jamie Lyon penalty saw the teams head to halftime with the gold and blacks ahead 8-2.

It was a different story altogether immediately after the break though, with Daly Cherry-Evans in particular seizing control for the Sea Eagles. First he showed wonderful skill to gift co-captain Jason King passage to the try line (42nd minute), before another Lyon penalty goal (45th minute) saw Manly ahead 10-8. 

Cherry-Evans then bamboozled the Tigers’ left edge defence with a series of dummies to score a stunning 70-metre solo try; he fooled opposition centre Chris Lawrence 30 metres out from the Manly try line then sprinted downfield before similarly hoodwinking fullback Tim Moltzen to cross untouched.

That made it 16-8 and when Tony Williams steamrolled over the top of Robbie Farah to score from 10 metres out in the 58th minute to make it 22-8, the competition points looked safely in the bag.

However, two late tries to the Tigers, the first to Beau Ryan off a Benji Marshall grubber (58th minute) and then to Joel Reddy cleaning up a scrappy ‘Hail Mary’ play on the left edge (76th minute) gave the Manly fans a few nerves.

The stats heavily favoured the Sea Eagles: they completed 32 sets compared to the Tigers’ 24 and dominated field position with a kicking game that probed 730 metres compared to the opposition’s 625 metres.

Cherry-Evans finished with a try, nine-tackle busts, a line-break, try assist and line-break assist, while Williams banked a try and five tackle busts.

The Tigers were best served by Marshall (two try assists) and Chris Lawrence (a try and a try assist).  

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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