Manly leads NRL after tough NZ contest - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly leads NRL after tough NZ contest

22/06/2008 03:54:19 PM Comments (0)

Manly overcame some errors and tough umpiring calls to climb back to the head of the NRL table after beating the New Zealand Warriors 20-14 in a hard fought contest at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.

The match was in the balance until the end, but the Warriors' mistakes deep in their own territory finally proved decisive and they conceded two tries in the final eight minutes.

The Sea Eagles have now won seven of their last eight matches and lead the competition on points difference.

After the match Manly coach Des Hasler was scathing of the standard of the umpiring, particularly a video referee call not to award a try to winger Michael Robertson in the first half.

"How hard is it to score a try? Have they not heard of the benefit of the doubt?" Hasler said.

"They do a referee review. I would say I think they will be doing a very long referee review on that performance," Hasler said.

Despite having most of the play in the first half, Manly was unable to prevent the Warriors scoring the first points after Manu Vatuvei ran 60 metres to a rousing cheer from the crowd of about 7,000 after a Steve Price offload.

Vatuvei, playing in his first NRL game since he was sidelined in April, showed he had not lost any pace from his injured leg, but was later taken off the ground.

Although the Sea Eagles replied shortly after, the Warriors went into the break leading by two points (6-4) in a low-scoring half.

Early in the second half the Warriors luck ran out when another turnover gave the Sea Eagles the platform to attack and second rower Glenn Stewart went over.

The Warriors drew level at 10-10 minutes later when second rower Simon Mannering forced his way over.

With 14 minutes to go, they hit the front again when a Nathan Fien cross-kick was plucked out of the air by Kirk to score.

Still, another turnover in their own territory was punished by Manly, with hooker Matt Ballin scoring from dummy half, and Matt Orford adding the extras to edge the Sea Eagles in front 16-14.

Prop Brent Kite added the icing with Manly's fourth try three minutes from time.

Manly captain Matt Orford said his team toughed out the win, despite making errors.

"It wasn't too pleasant, definitely not our best. But even going into half time I think the boys knew, it was just one that we had to grind out," Orford said after the game.

"I think our energy levels were a bit down, our execution was down and we were probably half a step off everything we should have been doing."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said he was disappointed and angry with his team's performance, especially the simple errors made during the game.

"There are some individuals, it has just been the case throughout the year, you know they just come up with plays that aren't NRL standard," Cleary said.

Warriors captain Steve Price said the game was close but his team made too many simple mistakes.

"Not taking anything away from them, but they didn't win it today, we lost it and that is probably the most disappointing thing," Price said.

Vatuvei will undergo a physical on Monday but was taken out of play because he was limping around at half time, Cleary said.

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