Sea Eagles smash Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles smash Titans

By Todd Balym 05/09/2009 10:36:20 PM Comments (0)

Manly relaunched their premiership defence with an emphatic 38-4 win over the Gold Coast that left the Titans with a nightmare injury toll heading into the club's NRL finals debut.

The Sea Eagles' big guns all hit form at Brookvale Oval to claim the seven-tries-to-one win and secure fifth place and a week one finals encounter with the fourth-placed Storm in Melbourne on Friday night.

Fullback Brett Stewart scored the first try in his second game back from a serious knee injury, David Williams scored a double, prop Brent Kite returned to his Clive Churchill medal-winning form and halfback Matt Orford produced his best game of the season with 14 points.

It was Manly's biggest win of the season and the Gold Coast's heaviest defeat of 2009.

Making matters worse for the third-placed Titans, they will limp into the finals with Mat Rogers carrying a hamstring strain and Luke O'Dwyer ruled out for the season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury.

Gold Coast will host a qualifying final at Skilled Park next Saturday, but the heavy loss to Manly will raise serious questions about their title credentials given the ease with which the Sea Eagles steamrolled through the middle of their defence and repelled their attack.

Rogers had a torrid opening 40 minutes as several mistakes led to Sea Eagles tries as Manly raced to a 22-0 halftime lead.

Rogers didn't return after the break with a hamstring twinge, while O'Dwyer left the field just 11 minutes into the second half after falling awkwardly on his left knee in a tackle.

The Titans had plenty of attack in the second half but couldn't get across the line until a 78th minute consolation try to winger Kevin Gordon.

Manly skipper Matt Orford said the performance would give his side the confidence to defend their title from fifth place on the ladder.

"It's definitely a bit harder, but this competition is wide open," said Orford.

"It's going to be a hard run.

"It does not matter who we play, we have to win every match."

Titans coach John Cartwright conceded his side were probably guilty of looking ahead to the finals, but said nobody would have beaten Manly based on their performance.

"They would have been way too strong for anyone tonight," said Cartwright.

"We were just blown away.

"They can win it, anyone can win it at the moment."

Cartwright said he wasn't concerned the loss of momentum would cripple his side's finals chances next week.

"It's an issue if we let it be an issue," he said.

"We have enough experience out there and cool heads. I'm not concerned at all."

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