Jones the hero as Warriors beat Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones the hero as Warriors beat Manly

By Steve Jancetic 22/03/2009 07:22:35 PM Comments (0)

Warriors prodigal son Stacey Jones turned back the clock and Manly's NRL title defence as he engineered a thrilling 26-24 win over the premiers at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

With his team staring down the barrel of yet another road loss after the Sea Eagles had rallied to grab an eight point lead with just 11 minutes remaining, Jones, in his first game back in the NRL since August 2005, stepped up.

Barely able to make it from one tackle to the next as his 32-year-old legs struggled to keep up with the hectic pace and stifling conditions, Jones manufactured a vintage chip and chase to drag the visitors back into the contest.

Brent Tate finished off the move to close the gap to 24-20 before Kiwis legend Jones launched one final raid, a bomb to the corner eventually making its way to Jerome Ropati to score with winger Denan Kemp landing the pressure conversion from wide out.

"I forgot what it was all about - I really struggled there, probably a lot of players did," Jones said.

"The heat really got to everyone I think and there was a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties ... I couldn't talk out there I was that tired.

"Wade McKinnon actually tipped me up on it (the chip kick) hence why he was there as soon as it came off.

"We couldn't get out of our own half and we probably had to try something. I got a lucky bounce."

Luck had little to do with it though, with even Manly coach Des Hasler admitting his side was powerless to stop the veteran playmaker.

"We knew exactly what he was going to do, we knew exactly the plays he was going to come up with, but we couldn't shut him down," Hasler said.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said it wouldn't be long before the champion No.7 forced his way into the starting line-up, after he came into Sunday's contest off the bench.

Jones though said he was happy to get a start anywhere in the 17.

"I'll just play where I'm given a chance," he said.

"I was given this opportunity because of Lance Hohaia, if Lance didn't get injured I wouldn't have been playing."

Down 16-10 at the break after the Warriors had run in three tries in a spectacular five minute onslaught midway through the first half, the Sea Eagles reclaimed the lead within nine minutes of the restart via tries to rookie winger Andrew Suniula and rumbling prop Adam Cuthbertson.

When Jamie Lyon crossed for his second just before the hour for a 24-16 lead, the momentum and the game appeared Manly's, Hasler ruing a lack of discipline which sees the reigning premiers in a share of last spot heading into the third round.

"We're just an undisciplined footy team at the moment, simple as that ... today we paid the consequences," Hasler said.

"Fair to say eight points up we had that game, we should have had that game.

"It's an attitude thing and we've got to adjust it real quick because that's two points today we should have had."

Manly finished the match with only two players on the bench with Suniula (badly split webbing) and Shane Rodney (bleeding from the eye) both rushed to hospital for treatment.

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