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DCE masterclass helps Sea Eagles to victory over Raiders

A kicking masterclass by Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans led his team to a 25-6 defeat of Canberra in Mudgee on Saturday night.

The match was evenly poised at halftime, with the Sea Eagles leading 10-6, but Cherry-Evans took control in the second half and kicked a 20:40, a 40:20 and a late field goal, while also laying on two tries with kicks.

The Raiders paid a high price for errors and penalties near their own line in the first half and while they finished with 24 offloads to Manly's seven, the Green Machine rarely threatened in attack.

DCE drills a 20/40

Jack Wighton was Canberra's best, while the Sea Eagles had a number of star performers, including fullback Tom Trbojevic, who ran a game high 289 metres with the ball.

Rookie centre Tolutau Koula and forwards Josh Aloia and Haumole Olakau’atu were also heavily involved but no player made a bigger impact than Cherry-Evans.

Match snapshot

  • Manly's teen sensation Tolutau Koula showed there is more to his game than just speed when he laid on the opening try of the match in the 13th minute for Rueben Garrick with a jinking run in which he managed to bounce back to his feet after a tackle by Jordan Rapana and pass for the goalkicking winger to score.

Koula in and creating tries for Garrick

  • The Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom, often link up in attack but they combined in defence to hold up Josh Papali'i in the Sea Eagles in-goal. 
  • When Morgan Harper crossed in the 19th minute after Jason Saab, the tallest player in the NRL, outleapt Canberra's Nick Cotric for a Daly Cherry-Evans kick and passed back to Haumole Olakau’atu it seemed a case of how much Manly would win by.

Manly stay alive for Harper to cross

  • However, Jack Wighton got the Raiders back in the game with a towering bomb that proved too hard for Tom Trbojevic to handle and the Canberra five-eighth then stepped through the Sea Eagles defence to score in the 25th minute.

Don't sleep on Jack Wighton

  • Daly Cherry-Evans got some further reward for a superb kicking game, which included a 40:20 kick and a rare 20:40, when Haumole Olakau’atu raced through to pounce on a grubber and score in the 61st minute.
  • Tom Trbojevic scored in the set after the 40:20 kick by Cherry-Evans to extend Manly's lead to 22-6 in the 64th minute.
  • A Rueben Garrick penalty goal increased the Sea Eagles lead in the 67th minute before Daly Cherry-Evans added icing to the cake with 75th minute field goal.

Cherry-Evans adds a field goal for good measure

Play of the game

The Sea Eagles had finally moved more than a converted try in front of Canberra midway through the second half after Haumole Olakau’atu scored off a Daly Cherry-Evans grubber when the Manly skipper decided to put the game to bed with a 40:20 kick that led to a Tom Trbojevic try in the ensuing set of tackles.

DCE. Ball. String.

What they said

"It's great they finally got to see a 20:40. I thought his [Cherry-Evans] kicking game today was exceptional. It certainly got us back into the game at parts, it took pressure off us at times. I think we got a try off it and a couple of repeat sets so it was a great kicking game. It was just those clutch moments, that is what he does so well and a couple of those were big plays tonight": Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler.  

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

“If I’m the Manly boss, I’d be going down and putting a fresh bunch of flowers on Bob Fulton’s grave every day. It’s the smartest play that club has ever made, pinching [Daly Cherry-Evans] back off the Titans and offering him $1 million for 10 years. Everyone bagged Bozo for it, but it’s a masterstroke": Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Canberra Raiders

What's next

The Sea Eagles travel to Newcastle on Thursday night to take on the Knights, while the Raiders host the Storm in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.

Manly utility Dylan Walker will be racing the clock to play after suffering a severe cork to his left knee late in the second half. Walker only played 11 minutes before limping from the field but he sat on the sideline and was ready to play if Des Hasler needed him.

Hasler may also face a selection headache if centre Brad Parker recovers from COVID in time for the trip up the M1 as his replacement Tolutau Koula was impressive.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart may have centre Seb Kris available for selection after he was ruled out of the match in Mudgee due to HIA protocols. 

 

Acknowledgement of Country

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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