Sea Eagles take control of flight path - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles take control of flight path

By Todd Balym and Adrian Warren 21/06/2009 09:45:54 PM Comments (0)

Reigning premiers Manly finally have full control of their own destiny after stepping into the NRL top eight for the first time this year.

The Sea Eagles' 20-14 win over Canberra at Brookvale Oval on Sunday thrust Manly into eighth place on the NRL table, ahead of Penrith by just one point differential.

The Panthers dropped out of the eight after a 19-12 defeat from the Bulldogs on Friday night.

Manly may have climbed into the top half of the NRL, but they're still three wins outside the coveted top four after Melbourne held on for a 14-12 win over wasteful Wests Tigers at Olympic Park on Sunday.

After losing the first four games of their premiership defence on the back of their scandal-plagued season start, the Sea Eagles have won five of their last six encounters to shoot back into title contention.

The Sea Eagles have a bye next week but will get a true test of their title credentials when they face the top two sides, Bulldogs and St George Illawarra, in the coming weeks.

"It's been the result of hard work of all the players," said coach Des Hasler.

"We've had a lot of obstacles and a few hurdles to overcome but it's certainly underlined the belief that the players have in each other.

"We're not going to get carried away. It is only just over halfway through."

The losses virtually put the finals hopes of the Raiders and Tigers on death row, they sit two wins outside the eight and will need at least nine victories from the remaining 11 games to reach the finals.

Both sides had chances to cause upsets on Sunday but, as has been the case all season, critical mistakes cost them dearly.

"We're not looking at what might happen at the end of the season, that just sends panic into the squad," said Tigers coach Tim Sheens.

"What we need is another win ... you can't afford to think about what may or may not happen.

"There's a lot of footy to be played and there's not a lot between eighth and where everyone is ... who's to say we don't win the next eight."

The Storm's victory moves them to 19 points and keeps them in fourth place and hot on the heels of the Dragons, Bulldogs and Gold Coast, who are all out in front of 22 points.

North Queensland jumped to fifth and 18 competition points with a gripping 24-22 win over last-placed Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.

The tricolours' horrendous season worsened too with skipper Braith Anasta to miss the rest of 2009 after suffering a broken ankle.

The Roosters have now lost their last six successive games and could fall even further away from 15th-placed Cronulla when the Sharks host an Origin-depleted Brisbane at Toyota Stadium on Monday night.

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