Sea Eagles stun Titans with dominant win
The Sea Eagles have man-handled a timid Titans team to record a valuable win going into the bye but it could have come at a cost to both Origin teams after both Nate Myles and Dylan Walker suffered leg injuries at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night.
A superb opening 40 minutes from Queensland aspirant Daly Cherry-Evans gave Manly an 18-6 advantage at half-time and while the Titans threatened to mount yet another comeback the physical dominance of the Sea Eagles forward pack and basic errors quelled any chance of a serious charge.
Considered a certainty to be named in Kevin Walters' Queensland team on Monday afternoon Myles limped off at the end of the first half with a knee injury and played no further part in the game while Blues hopeful Walker battled on one leg after copping a heavy knock to his left leg early in the second half, combining with Cherry-Evans six minutes from full-time to seal the comprehensive 30-10 win that moves Manly ahead of the Cowboys and into sixth spot on the ladder.
Coming into the game without star fullback Tom Trbojevic, the attacking potency of Manly appeared to have been significantly weakened but the loss of their No.1 did nothing to blunt the impact of their forwards who bent the Titans back with ball in hand and also in defence.
Led by Jake Trbojevic and Martin Taupau, the Sea Eagles were also well served by Curtis Sironen, Frank Winterstein, Brenton Lawrence and Addin Fonua-Blake who made a Titans team riding a three-game winning streak look well off the pace.
Manly's opening try of the second half came purely from one of rugby league's original tenets when a rampant Sironen channelling the long strides of his old man from 30 years earlier forced the Titans on the back foot, a straightforward offload providing clear passage for Jake Trbojevic to crash over next to the posts and an 18-point lead.
In desperate need of a hero the Titans turned to the man of the moment and Anthony Don responded with a touchdown off an Ash Taylor grubber kick millimetres inside the dead-ball line with 25 minutes left to play but that was effectively the end of the fight.
Cherry-Evans and Walker attacked the Titans' left-edge at every opportunity with Walker and Akuila Uate both scoring first half tries and hooker Apisai Koroisau grabbing the third.
Cherry-Evans caught the Titans short on the blind side in the 12th minute to send Uate on a 35-metre arcing run to the try-line and when the Titans defence jammed in a quarter way through the contest Cherry-Evans floated a pass across the face of two teammates to put Uate in space who found Walker on his inside for Manly's second try of the night.
Running the Titans ragged on the edges through Curtis Sironen and Martin Taupau, the visitors extended their lead even further in the 24th minute when Koroisau attacked a retreating ruck defence from close range and planted the ball on the turf in between the legs of Titans skipper Ryan James.
The Sea Eagles were reduced to 12 men in the 27th minute when Frank Winterstein was sin-binned for a professional foul on Konrad Hurrell who was impeded after taking a quick tap on his own side of halfway but the Titans were unable to take advantage.
Taylor made a long bust down the right that promised to deliver points but a courageous chase from Nate Myles allowed fullback Matthew Wright to corral Taylor and shut down the movement.
After posting 38 points in their two previous games the only points the Titans could conjure in the first half came from a Manly error inside their own territory, Ash Taylor pouncing on a loose pass to race 25 metres and score in the corner.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 30 (Dylan Walker 2, Akuila Uate, Apisai Koroisau, Jake Trbojevic tries; Matthew Wright 5 goals) def. Golf Coast Titans 10 (Ashley Taylor, Anthony Don tries; Ashley Taylor 1 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Half-time: Sea Eagles 18-6. Crowd: 12,509. Holden Cup: Titans 36-12.