Sea Eagles v Warriors: Five key points
A Daly Cherry-Evans field goal in extra time lifted Manly to their sixth win of 2016 and condemned the Warriors to a heart-breaking 15-14 loss on Saturday. Here are five key points to come of the Round 19 match played at nib Stadium in Perth.
Pair of classy plays get Manly home
Much of the credit for the Sea Eagles' victory will go the way of Cherry-Evans after the star halfback booted the decisive field goal in the 84th minute, and perhaps rightfully so given it was off his bad [left] foot and performed in torrid wet conditions.
But a couple of plays earlier it was workaholic No.13 Jake Trbojevic's clever play which allowed Manly to seal the result.
After the Warriors marched down field the ball found Shaun Johnson for a field goal attempt in front of the sticks from close range, but that was charged down by a flying Trbojevic, who then had the presence of mind to chase the loose ball and regather.
A few tackles later 'DCE' booted the match-winner, and post-match coach Trent Barrett heaped praise on the efforts of both players.
"Left foot field goal to win the game in extra time, that is what the good halfbacks do, he [Cherry-Evans] has done it for us before," Barrett said.
"Jake's play at the end sort of typifies what the team is about at the moment.
"To be able to do that and the effort to get there and regather the ball puts 'Cherry' in a position to do it."
Missed opportunities cost Warriors
On the other side of the spectrum, while Manly were clutch when it counted, the Warriors had ample chances to win the game in regulation time but failed to take advantage.
A missed penalty attempt from Issac Luke and a Solomone Kata dropped ball over the line inside the final 20 minutes could have secured the win, while Manu Vatuvei was also bundled into touch with one defender to beat late in the piece.
Post-match McFadden cut a frustrated figure, lamenting a slow start which saw his team down 12-0 after 14 minutes, and several untimely mistakes.
"Unfortunately we didn't end up on the right side of the scoreline," McFadden said.
"I thought we were probably the more dominant team, particularly for most of the second half, but we just couldn't get that final blow
"We fought our way back in the game and got ourselves in a position to win it, so it's obviously very disappointing to go close and not get there."
Darcy does the damage
Manly prop Darcy Lussick has been an unsung hero all year for the Sea Eagles, and on Saturday night he led the way in the middle with some big numbers.
His 210 metres were the most by any player, averaging well over 10 metres on each of his 17 carries, while also making 31 tackles in 60 minutes on the park.
While he doesn't bring with him the reputation of fellow Manly bookends Nate Myles and Martin Taupau, Lussick is increasingly becoming the key performer in the Sea Eagles engine room.
Familiar ground for Warriors
Saturday was the third time the Warriors have been involved in a golden point match in 2016, and the second occasion in their last three games.
They have a win and two losses in added time this year, and McFadden admitted it was a disappointing way to suffer their ninth loss of the season.
"It's a tough way to lose, it really is," McFadden said.
"That's the NRL isn't it? Everything comes down to small margins. If we kicked a field goal then we are happy and they are disappointed.
"It's a very disappointing way to lose, but that's what you have got to face up to in this competition."
Still life in Manly's finals hopes
The win in Western Australia keeps the Sea Eagles in a position for a run towards post-season footy, lifting them to currently sit just four points out of the eight.
Now 11th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, Manly won't have to travel out of Sydney for the rest of the season, but face a fairly tough final stretch given three of their final seven games are against top-eight outfits.
"I'm just really glad we got a win, we needed it, we are still alive," Barrett said.
"We are going to need a big two months if we are to make the semis."
Meanwhile Jake Trbojevic said the team were enjoying their current wave of confidence, in what has been a testing season.
"Obviously we were pretty stoked, the last couple of weeks we have been training really hard and have had a couple of good results," he said.
"Everyone was outstanding today."