Williams treble seals victory for Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Williams treble seals victory for Manly

By Ian Mccullough 08/05/2010 10:41:44 PM Comments (0)

A Tony Williams hat-trick helped Manly to a magnificent 24-6 victory over NRL leaders St George Illawarra at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night.

In addition to inflicting only the second defeat of the Dragons' season, Manly secured the win despite having eight players backing up from representative duties 24 hours earlier.

And they were also forced to play the whole second half without halfback Kieran Foran after the young Kiwi playmaker suffered a strained hamstring.

Despite the two sides having 11 players between them involved in Friday's Test between Australia and New Zealand and the City versus Country clash in Port Macquarie, the match was an intense, high quality encounter.

All eight of Manly's rep players started the game but the Dragons were without Test prop Michael Weyman and New Zealand winger Jason Nightingale who failed to recover from the Melbourne international.

However, coach Wayne Bennett was able to include Matt Cooper who returned from the calf injury that ruled him out of contention for the Country side

Williams opened the scoring for the hosts after nine minutes when he bulldozed his way over the line following some fine work from new City Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson.

Hodkinson further enhanced his growing reputation with another excellent performance in only his eighth NRL game in front of a crowd of 16,745.

Manly doubled their lead in almost identical fashion when Williams crashed over again six minutes later.

The try was largely down to a brilliant pass from Ben Farrar who somehow found Jamie Lyon as he was tackled to the ground by Matt Cooper, with Williams adding the finish and Lyon applying the extras from the sideline.

A Trent Merrin try 10 minutes before the break after a sustained spell of Dragons' pressure reduced the lead to 10-6 following Jamie Soward's conversion.

Despite finishing the opening stanza on the back foot, Des Hasler's men got their second half off to the perfect start with a 48th-minute Farrar try, after the fullback bounced off three tackles to dance to the line with Lyon's kick stretching the lead to 16-6.

The result was sealed in the 55th minute when Lyon, one of the eight players backing up for Manly, showed great commitment to claw back a Hodkinson grubber kick that looked to be bouncing into touch and Williams grounded the ball.

Despite struggling in attack, the Dragons and can think themselves hard done by with two tries controversially chalked off by the officials.

The first incident saw Morris dive full length to latch onto a loose ball, however Shayne Hayne ruled the ball was dead without consulting the video referee.

Ten minutes from time Michael Lett looked to have scored again but Soward's pass was wrongly deemed to be forward.

Hasler was full of praise for his players, describing is as "one of the most courageous wins by a Manly side."

"Particularly in the circumstances and who they were playing, they have grabbed a slice of Manly club history tonight and something they should be very proud of," Hasler said.

"These boys have been playing with each other for quite some time and we have spent a lot of time watching St George and knew what to expect."

Bennett said the injuries to Weyman and Nightingale were not serious and they would be back in action next weekend against Canterbury.

And the veteran Dragons coach did not use the short turnaround experienced by Ben Creagh, Dean Young and Brett Morris as a reason for the defeat.

"They had eight players backing up and we had three so we can't use that as an excuse," Bennett said.

He also said he had no problem with the decision by Hayne not to use the video referee when Morris looked to have scored in the second half.

"We can't have it both ways by asking them to back their judgement and then they go to video ref every time, as a coach I would rather they call it as they see it and get on with the game."

However, he was unhappy with Lett's try being ruled out late in the game for a forward pass by Jamie Soward.

"That is the second time we have had a try ruled out for that," he said.

"I have watched Jamie throw them in training and as far as I am concerned it is not a forward pass.

"I think they have got the interpretation wrong."

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