Ben Matulino of the Vodafone Warriors is exhausted after the loss  during the NRL match between the Vodafone Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles from NIB Stadium in Perth, Western Australia. 16th July 2016. Photo: Daniel Carson / photosport.co.nz

While Daly Cherry-Evans’ golden point field goal shattered the Vodafone Warriors’ hopes of their first win in Perth, the contest again underlined the significant improvement in the side’s defence in the last two months.

It was the sixth straight game since the loss to Canberra in New Plymouth on May 21 that they had held their opponents to 18 points and under.

More than that it was the Vodafone Warriors’ best effort of the season in terms of missed tackles. In a battle in which they were required to make more tackles (391) than in any of their 17 matches so far they missed just 15 in 84 minutes, their lowest number of the year.

The outstanding individual defensive effort was unsurprisingly provided by the indefatigable Simon Mannering who finished with 63 tackles without a miss and only one ineffective tackle. In the last four games his tallies have been 53, 67, 38 and now 63 with only with only three missed tackles. Overall he has made 691 tackles in 15 games – an average of 46 a game – and on six occasions he has made more than 50 in a match.

Across the six games since their first bye the Vodafone Warriors have won four and lost two in golden point with opponents being limited to scores of 18 (Brisbane), 14 (Newcastle), 10 (Sydney Roosters), 19 (Cronulla), 18 (Gold Coast) and 15 (Manly) – an average of just 15.66 points a game.

For the fourth time in that series of six games the Vodafone Warriors also completed more than 30 sets (31 from 41).

The achievements in the defensive area were all the more remarkable considering the workload the Vodafone Warriors faced in the opening 20 minutes when tackling was almost all they were able to do. That they managed to limit the damage to two tries while Manly completed 18 out of 18 sets in the first half spoke volumes for both their defensive intent and intensity.

Another feature was the number of runs and territory gained by the back five, even more so fullback David Fusitu’a and wings Manu Vatuvei and Ken Maumalo. Between them the trio made 51 of the team’s total of 189 runs, amassing 464 metres of the overall total of 1593 metres. Fusitu’a gained 193 metres from 20 carries, Vatuvei 158 from 16 and Maumalo 113 from 15.

NRL | v MANLY SEA EAGLES, nib STADIUM | LOST 14-15

Penalties | Vodafone Warriors 6, Manly 8.

Completions | Vodafone Warriors 31/41 (76%), Manly 33/39 (85%).

Total runs | Vodafone Warriors 189, Manly 176.

Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors 1593, Manly 1664.

Line breaks | Vodafone Warriors 3, Manly 3.

Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors 29, Manly 15.

Kicks (kicking metres) | Vodafone Warriors 21 (567), Manly 25 (642).

Tackles Made | Vodafone Warriors 391, Manly 328.

Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors 15, Manly 29.

Offloads | Vodafone Warriors 8, Manly 4.

Errors | Vodafone Warriors 11, Manly 6.

Runs | Vodafone Warriors: David Fusitu’a 20, Ben Matulino 19, Ryan Hoffman 17, Manu Vatuvei 16, Ken Maumalo 15, Solomone Kata 14, Sam Lisone 13, Thomas Leuluai 12, Simon Mannering 12, Shaun Johnson 11. Manly: Tom Trbojevic 19, Jorge Taufua 18, Darcy Lussick 17, Jake Trbojevic 17, Martin Taupau 13, Matthew Wright 13, Siosaia Vave 11, Jamie Buhrer 10, Nathan Green 10.

Metres gained | Vodafone Warriors: David Fusitu’a 193, Ryan Hoffman 159, Manu Vatuvei 158, Ben Matulino 146, Ken Maumalo 113, Solomone Kata 107, Thomas Leuluai 103. Manly: Darcy Lussick 210, Jorge Taufua 177, Jake Trbojevic 161, Tom Trbojevic 146, Martin Taupau 136, Siosaia Vave 129, Jamie Buhrer 126, Matthew Wright 116.

Tackle breaks | Vodafone Warriors: Manu Vatuvei 4, David Fusitu’a 4, Solomone Kata 3, Shaun Johnson 3. Manly: Jorge Taufua 4.

Off loads | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 2. Manly: Martin Taupau 3.

Tackles made | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 63, Issac Luke 47, Ben Matulino 42, Bunty Afoa 32, Sam Lisone 31, Charlie Gubb 26, Ryan Hoffman 24, Jazz Tevaga 22, James Gavet 21, Blake Ayshford 23, Shaun Johnson 21. Manly: Apisai Koroisau 41, Jamie Buhrer 41, Darcy Lussick 30, Jamie Lyon 26, Nathan Green 26, Lewis Brown 36, Daly Cherry-Evans 23, Jake Trbojevic 22.

Missed tackles | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 0, Charlie Gubb 0, Ryan Hoffman 0, Thomas Leuluai 0, Ken Maumalo 0, Solomone Kata 0, Tuimoala Lolohea 0. Manly: Josh Starling 0, Siosaia Vave 0, Blake Leary 0.

Supports | Vodafone Warriors: Ken Maumalo 9, Manu Vatuvei 7, Blake Ayshford 5, Solomone Kata 0. Manly: Nathan Green 13, Daly Cherry-Evans 9, Matthew Wright 8, Tom Trbojevic 7.

Decoys | Vodafone Warriors: Simon Mannering 9, Sam Lisone 6, Ryan Hoffman 5. Manly: Darcy Lussick 4.

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