The Canberra Raiders have fallen to the undefeated Manly Sea Eagles 36-22 at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
The Raiders started the game well but ill-discipline for much of the match ended up being the deciding factor giving up 11 penalties in a game where the Raiders were missing both of their usual halves in Captain Lachlan Croker and Lachlan Lewis as well as hard working forward Luke Bateman.
The scoring started early for the Green Machine with Thomas Cronan scoring in the 6th minute. Jack Hickson put a kick through and was able to put the Manly full back under pressure and he dropped the ball to allow a repeat set just short of the tryline. The Raiders then spread the ball wide for Cronan to score in the corner unfortunately Hickson could not convert leaving the score 4-0.
A sloppy defence allowed the Sea Eagles to hit back and then take the lead. Jesse Maxwell opened the scoring for Manly after capitalising on the Raiders defence allowing the ball to bounce and scored under the post. It was back-to-back tries after Luke Price crossed over 3 minutes later. Hugh Pratt was able to convert both giving the manly side a 12-4 lead.
The domination for Manly continued as they scored again in the 24th minute. After kicking a 40-20 through Will Pearsall the Sea Eagles found themselves in good field position once again. In the next set the ball found its way to Mitch Britton who crossed with three Raiders trying to stop him with the conversion once again successful by Pratt to give Manly a 14 point lead.
The Green Machine were finally able to get themselves back into the game with a try to Adam Lucas. The Raiders broke through the Manly defence to find themselves within a metre of the tryline. Lucas took a run from dummy half throwing a dummy to deceive the Manly defence to score next to the post. This allowed Hickson an easy conversion which was successful to leave the score 18-10.
The scoring was not over for the first half with Manly restoring their lead just before half time. Canberra found themselves out numbered on the wing which Manly took advantage of with Britton crossing for his second of the match. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving a score line at half time 22-10.
Despite a sloppy start to the half the Raiders were able to score first in the second half. Jack Williams was able to pounce on a dropped ball after Captain for the day Brenko Lee put a grubber kick in that was spilled by Manly inside there try line. The conversion by Hickson was successful for the manly lead to be reduced to 6.
This did not last long as a mistake by the Green Machine allowed Manly to hit back straight away. After a huge tackle by Manly the ball was knocked on allowing Manly to have the ball 20 metres out. In the next set Price was able to cross under the post and Pratt converted to restore the 12 point lead.
The Sea Eagles were able to extend their lead further in the 66th minute. Manly spread the ball out wide to find space and the ball found its way to Scott Moran who scored in the corner. Things went from bad to worse as from the kick-off the Raiders were ruled off side. From the penalty the Sea Eagles found their way through the Raiders defence and through Kyle Saunders scored in the corner. Both conversions were unsuccessful for Manly leaving the score at 36-16.
The Green Machine managed to get across for a conciliation try with two minutes remaining. Cronan made a line break passing the ball to Cameron Booth who ran 45 metres to cross under the post with Zac Woolford on debut kicking the conversion
The Green Machine have further worries with Jack Hickson going down with an ankle injury half way through the second half.
Manly Sea Eagles 36 (Tries: Britton 2, Price 2, Maxwell, Moran, Saunders Conversions: Pratt 4/7)
Canberra Raiders 22 (Tries: Cronan, Lucas, Williams, Booth Conversions: Hickson 2/3, Woolford 1/1)