The Sea Eagles held off a spirited challenge from Wests Tigers to come away with a 36-22 victory in front of a packed house at 4 Pines Park on Saturday afternoon.
Superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic returned from a knee injury after a month out but it was younger brother Ben who stole the limelight with two tries in just his sixth NRL game.
After absorbing a heap of early pressure from the home side it was Wests Tigers who looked to have struck the first blow through winger Asu Kepaoa in the 26th minute but the try was disallowed due to obstruction.
Manly then made their way down the field and scored after Daly Cherry-Evans jumped into dummy half and put Ben Trbojevic over in the right corner for the first try of his career.
A huge swing in momentum when Stefano Utoikamanu was sent to the bin in the 33rd minute after consecutive penalties against the Tigers and Reuben Garrick crossed in the next set for Manly to make it 8-0.
Ben scores and the brothers celebrate
The home side had their third try in the shadows of half-time when Christian Tuipulotu took the final pass from Ben Trbojevic to cross in the corner. Garrick's sideline conversion made it 14-0.
Seven minutes into the second half Cherry-Evans had a try of his own after taking a pass from youngster Tolutau Koula and turning Tigers fullback Starford To'a inside out.
Just when it appeared Manly would run away with the game it was Luke Garner hitting back for the Tigers, outpacing Tom Trbojevic on a 70-metre run to the line after taking a pass from Kepaoa and pinning his ears back.
Garner burns them all to score a long range try
Two minutes later the Tigers looked to have scored again but Tyrone Peachey was ruled to have lost the ball as he attempted to put it down.
Rather than drop their heads the Tigers bounced straight back with Peachey scoring off a Luke Brooks grubber and it was game on at 18-12 but when Josh Aloiai powered over from close range the Sea Eagles had restored their 12-point advantage.
Ben Trbojevic then completed his double in the 61st minute and the Brookvale crowd was in party mode.
With 10 minutes to play the Tigers hit back when Englishman Oliver Gildart produced some fancy footwork to score but Jackson Hastings was unable to convert so Manly had breathing space at 30-16.
Garrick took his personal tally to 16 points when he scored wide out off a pinpoint Kieran Foran pass before Joe Ofahengaue snuck over from dummy half to give the Tigers the last word.
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 9 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
- Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans played his 100th game at 4 Pines Park.
- The Tigers lost winger Ken Maumalo early in the match after he failed a HIA while Thomas Mikaele also went for a HIA in the 30th minute and was ruled a category one concussion so he was immediately ruled out.
- Tom Trbojevic celebrated his return from a knee injury with 230 running metres, six tackle breaks and a try assist.
- The three Trbojevic brothers Tom, Jake and Ben played together in the starting side for the first team.
Warning: Wholesome Content
- Starford To'a was strong at fullback for the Tigers with 167 metres from 16 runs and eight tackle breaks.
- Alex Seyfarth and Joe Ofahengaue got through plenty of work in defence, making 76 tackles between them for the Tigers.
Play of the Game
Manly maestro Daly Cherry-Evans caught the Tigers napping from the opening kick-off when he chose to go short rather than the traditional long kick down to the tryline. With the Tigers players all back deep, DCE produced a clever grubber kick along the ground and hooker Lachlan Croker raced through to dive on the ball and Manly had possession.
DCE too smart on the kick-off
What They Said
"It was a game that Benny [Trbojevic] will remember for a long long time. It's usually the man of the match is going the other way [to Tom] but Benny got the spoils today and it was a late change for him today having to go from the centre to the back row so he'll get an enormous amount of confidence out of today. I was very happy for him and very proud of him." - Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler
Sea Eagles: Round 9
"The tough part for us was when Stefano got sent off there and having some tries scored against us. They are massive calls... we had a period in the second half there where we had four six-agains on our own line and no one else is sent off. When you're sending someone off for 10 minutes it's a big part of what plays out in a game and the boys worked hard to handle that but it's just unfortunate we had probably two [tries] there that gets the scoreboard pressure ticking away on you but the effort the boys put in I thought they were strong from that point of view." - Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire
Wests Tigers: Round 9
All 16 clubs head for Suncorp Stadium for the highly anticipated Magic Round where Manly face the Broncos in the opening game on Friday night while Michael Maguire's men take on the Cowboys on Sunday night.
The Sea Eagles will be hoping to have Josh Schuster (calf) and Haumole Olakau'atu (illness) back on deck after they missed today's game.
David Nofoaluma (concussion) is a chance to return for Wests Tigers.