Victory over Manly in another tense tussle today has enabled the Vodafone Warriors to retain a share of the lead in the Intrust Super Premiership.
After enduring tight contests in recent weeks against Newcastle (34-32), Wests Tigers (16-18) and Illawarra (12-8) this was another toe-to-toe fight as the Vodafone Warriors fought for the lead and ultimately just held on for a 24-22 win at Brookvale Oval.
The opening passage to the match had been ominous for the Vodafone Warriors.
In a carbon copy of the NRL encounter between the two clubs in Perth on Saturday, this one also saw the Sea Eagles bolt to an early 12-0 lead leaving the visitors with plenty of work to do to stay in touch.
Within a matter of minutes they were in business with prop Upu Poching over between the posts in the 26th minute and then halfback Mason Lino following up soon after. Lino converted both and it was 12-12.
Close to halftime fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad went in and Lino's conversion made it 18 points without reply to give the Vodafone Warriors an 18-12 lead at the interval.
The score-line was even at 18-18 a little more than 10 minutes into the second spell through a converted Cameron Davis try.
For the best part of 20 minutes it remained that way despite both sides bombing scoring opportunities but, as the final 10 minutes approached, Manly fullback Peter Schuster dropped the ball, an error which resulted in a 70-metre runaway try for Nathaniel Roache. With Lino off injured, Semisi Tyrell provided the conversion and the lead was 24-18 with 10 minutes to go.
With three minutes left Manly ensured there would be some nerves with a second try for Davis. It wasn’t converted but the home side was coming home strongly with just two points in it.
When an Isaac John pass sent wing Ben Fritz over in the 79th minute the Sea Eagles thought they had stolen victory – but a forward pass was ruled, the try didn’t stand and the Vodafone Warriors held on for their 12th win of the season to move to 28 points on the ladder.
Match details | Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Manly Sea Eagles 22 (Cameron Davis 2, Peter Schuster, Ben Fritz tries; Dylan Kelly 3 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 24 (Upu Poching, Mason Lino, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nathaniel Roache tries; Mason Lino 3 conversions; Semisi Tyrell conversion).
Halftime: 18-12 Vodafone Warriors.
Vodafone Warriors | Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad; Viliami Kaveinga, Semisi Tyrell, Matt Allwood, Lewis Soosemea; Erin Clark, Mason Lino; Upu Poching, Nathaniel Roache, Toafofoa Sipley; Ofahiki Ogden, Shaun Lane; John Palavi (c). Interchange: James Bell, Ligi Sao, Ali Lauitiiti, Pat Sipley.