The Canberra Raiders NYC team will go into the Representative break on the back of two consecutive victories after they downed the Sea Eagles in a spiteful encounter 34-24 this afternoon at Brookvale Oval.
The game was played in trying conditions, and considering the wet conditions the game was being played in the match was an entertaining affair.
Canberra came into the game looking to take some momentum into the representative break, and were bolstered before the game with the return of Mitchell Barnett from a hamstring injury.
Manly took the lead early in the game after a charge down attempt from Patrick Mago. Manly forward Jack Delaney was first to the deflection and he raced under the post to score despite some good cover defence from Scott Doyle.
Liam Knight completed the conversion and Manly took a 6-0 lead after six minutes, however their lead didn’t last long.
Canberra then found the form that has made them so formidable in this competition and they scored three quick tries to build a lead against the Sea Eagles.
Trent Schubach started it all when he caught the Manly defence napping, making a break and then giving it to Andrew Heffernan in open space, he found Brenko Lee who made a strong run down the wing before handing it off to Ricky Garard who scored near the corner.
Mago added the extras to tie the scores up at 6 a piece after 17 minutes.
Canberra was in again on the next set when Lee made another break down the wing, he put a chip kick in which was spilled by Kyle Saunders, Heffernan jumped on the loose ball and ran 10 metres to score.
Mago was in form with the kicking boot and converted the try to give the Raiders a 12-6 lead after 20 minutes.
Garard grabbed a double when he was able to muscle over some poor Sea Eagles defence to score in the corner, Mago was laser like with the boot again as he added the extras from a tough angle. Giving the Raiders an 18-6 lead after 25 minutes.
An error from Garard following a kick gave the Sea Eagles a perfect opportunity to score, in broken play Saunders ended up with the ball and scored in the corner. Knight couldn’t convert the try and scores were left at 18-10 after 28 minutes.
Lee was again in the action setting up a Lachlan Hurst try. He put a clever grubber in behind the Manly defence, and Hurst beat Tom Trbojevic to the ball to score in the corner. Mago added the extras to give the Raiders a 24-10 lead 5 minutes before half time.
Manly lock Nicholas Lynn found space seconds before half time and put Trbojevic through for a try. Knight added the extras and Manly took some momentum into half time despite trailing 24-16.
They continued their fight back against the Raiders after half time when winger Luke Gosling found some space and scored in the corner. One try separated the teams after Knight couldn’t add the extras, with Mago’s perfect kicking record the difference.
Canberra stole the momentum back after Hurst was able to score a great sliding try in the corner, it was initially given as a no try, but a successful challenge from Mago saw the ruling overturned.
His perfect kicking record was finally blemished as he hit the uprights from a tough angle, but the Raiders had a 28-20 lead after 48 minutes.
They got another this time through Mago. The play was created after Josh Baker was able to get a pass to Heffernan who broke the line and was caught just short of the line.
Mago got the pass out of dummy half and with the Manly defence scrambling he was able to muscle his way over the line. He converted his own try and the Raiders were controlling the game 34-20 after 57 minutes.
Tensions were on edge after Scott Doyle was penalised for laying in as the tackler, he received a push and both sides brought numbers in for a push and shove.
Leonati Feiloakitua was placed on report for a shoulder charge following a hit on McIlwrick, tempers flared again but both sides knew not to chance their arm with anything silly.
Following the scrap between the two sides the errors started to flow in the game. Both sides has good opportunities to score a try, but neither were able to score with both teams having handling errors in their attacking 20.
McIlwrick was brought from the ground after he was cleaned up by Delaney with 10 minutes to go. Delaney was placed on report for the shot which left McIlwrick groggy and unable to leave the field without assistance.
He was then sent to the bin for the high shot leaving Manly to play out the game with 12 on the field.
Manly finished the game off better with a try right on the full time siren to bring the margin back to 10 points. The conversion was unsuccessful and the Raiders completed a strong 34-24 victory.
In a game where both there was no love lost between the two sides Brenko Lee was the catalyst early for the Raiders having a hand in three tries. In the second half Andrew Heffernan was able to find some good space and was constantly keeping the Sea Eagles defence on their toes.
Mago also found his kicking boot kicking 5 of 6. Canberra’s next match will be played at Eden Park when they travel overseas to take on the Warriors in Auckland.
Canberra 34 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 24
Tries: 2 Garard, 2 Hurst, Heffernan, Mago; Mago 5 Goals
Tries: Saunders, Delaney, Trbojevic, Gosling, Taylor Tries; Knight 2 Goals