Sea Eagles overcome five minutes of madness to defeat Storm

The Sea Eagles have given a lackluster Storm side to the sword but will not be satisfied with their last five minutes after conceding four tries in their 36-30 win at 4 Pines Park on Thursday night.

Manly halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans were at their best and Cherry-Evans in particular reacted well after Origin II’s defeat in Queensland five days ago to help the squad to victory.

It was the opposite for Melbourne for 75 minutes, who were without Cameron Munster and lacking cohesion in attack despite welcoming star Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Papenhuyzen looked understandably rusty as Manly ran to two in seven attempts, with Tolutau Koula and Jason Saab each getting a double.

The Storm fullback returned late with two tries and an assist as Melbourne ran in 18 points in the final six minutes of the game to flatter the scoreboard.

The finish will worry Des Hasler after his men were guilty of giving up a big lead against the Cowboys two weeks ago.

No one catches Koula

Match snapshot

  • Melbourne handed former Rooster Jayden Nikorima a club debut after the side lost Maroons five-eighth Cameron Munster to a shoulder injury.
  • Manly opened the score against the course of the game with Tolutau Koula picking up a kick from Papenhuyzen and running 90 meters to the line.
  • The Sea Eagles led Melbourne 18-6 at halftime despite a 63% completion rate and 20 missed tackles in the first half.
  • A double by Jason Saab in the first half gave the winger a 12-point lead, with Kieran Foran turning back the clock to link twice with Reuben Garrick, who sent the winger off.
  • An uncontested kick from Daly Cherry-Evans enabled Christian Tuipulotu to grab the ball and lead as Storm pair Papenhuyzen and Nick Meaney stared at each other after the miscommunication.

The Storm is somehow still in it

  • Attempting to embarrass Morgan Harper and Haumole Olakau’atu in the Melbourne defense line, especially their edge defense was a major concern for Craig Bellamy.
  • Brandon Smith delivered one of the evening’s efforts when he snatched a ball one-on-one from Marty Taupau on the kick restart to give a try back to the visitors.
  • Koula crossed for his second untouched shortly afterwards to build a 34-12 lead before a penalty extended the advantage to four converted tries.
  • Manly’s win was their third against Melbourne since 2015.
  • Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler now leads Craig Bellamy in the head-to-head battle 18-17 in their coaching record against each other overall.
  • Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans celebrated his 150th win for the club with the result.

Playing the game

Daly Cherry-Evans’ boot is one of the best in the game, with his 40/20 effort in the first half adding momentum to the Sea Eagles just as Melbourne started to gain some traction.

Manly kicked on from there and built an 18-6 lead before DCE dominated the rest of the game with the boot.

A DCE special

what they said

“After 60 minutes, we got what we deserved. We started a little bit at the end, but that’s too late. At the end of the day, if you want to win matches here at this level, you have to be consistent throughout the 80 minutes” We can make some excuses, like a replay, but Manly was in the same boat. I was just really disappointed with our defense and some of the individual appearances… just weren’t up to scratch.” – Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

“It was chaos for four minutes [at the end] that we need to adjust, we need to fix, and we will. At the end of the day tonight was a game where we had our backs against the wall, we had to win tonight and with that we beat the Melbourne Storm which is no mean feat. Some parts weren’t pretty, but there’s a lot that’s positive and that’s what we’ll get out of it.” – Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler

NRL Press Conference: Sea Eagles v Storm – Round 16, 2022

What’s next

Melbourne has seven days to get things right before returning to Sydney to face the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium. The Storm will be without the likes of Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, and Harry Grant through commitments from Origin against a Sharks side that might just be without Siosifa Talakai.

Manly has a bye on round 17, giving Des Hasler’s men a second week break in a month. Sea Eagles prop Josh Aloiai may be available after the bye after a concussion in representative round.

Smith jerks to score a try

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