Fight night as Sea Eagles batter Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fight night as Sea Eagles batter Storm

Steve Jancetic 26/08/2011 11:44:37 PM Comments (0)

The NRL revisited the 1980s on Friday night, wild brawls and a captivating contest enthralling a capacity Brookvale Oval crowd as Manly beat Melbourne 18-4 in the top-of-the-table blockbuster.

In scenes reminiscent of Australian front-rower Greg Dowling's famous touchline fight with Kiwi hardman Kevin Tamati, Glenn Stewart and Adam Blair were both sent off and left in danger of missing the finals following an all-in fight.

With NRL chief executive David Gallop watching from the stands - the first time he has seen either side in 2011 following controversial incidents involving both clubs in recent years - benches were cleared as the fracas moved perilously close to the crowd.

The fight started as the pair made their way to the sin bin after both came in late to join a scuffle between Ryan Hinchcliffe and Darcy Lussick.

Stewart walked off after being the first to be binned but Blair soon chased after him when he too was given a spell, the pair exchanging words and then fists before they were joined by every one of their teammates.

Officials and those players on the bench will all come under investigation.

"It certainly wasn't a good look for our game, I'd imagine," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"I knew they got sent to the sin bin and basically your eyes are back on the game, so I certainly didn't know that was going to happen, I don't think anyone would think that would happen."

Hinchcliffe - whose stray elbow on Lussick instigated the whole thing - said he didn't expect the incident to escalate.

"I actually thought we were going to get the penalty because he made a play at me after that, that wasn't the way it went and got caught up in all the boys having a bit of a push and shove," Hinchcliffe said.

On the scoreboard the Sea Eagles flexed their vast premiership muscle to maintain their unbeaten year on home soil and bring an end to the Storm's 12-game winning run.

"It was an important game for us from a number of points of view," Manly coach Des Hasler said.

"It's great to have second place secured because we go to Brisbane next week, that sold out crowd will be like an Origin atmosphere with the retirement of Darren Lockyer."

A worry for Hasler, though, is a double injury blow which could result in Brett Stewart (knee) and David Williams (neck) missing a large chunk, if not all, of the finals.

While possible suspensions and injuries may hurt, there's no doubt the Sea Eagles would have walked away confident they can give this premiership a shake, the three tries to one ensuring Manly a top-two finish with one round remaining.

The Sea Eagles opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Jamie Lyon's kick fortuitously found Kieran Foran chasing through to score.

The Sea Eagles continued to dominate but were unable to turn their advantage into points, until Lyon added a penalty for the initial Hinchcliffe-Lussick fight, which had originally been a Melbourne penalty for Lussick's retaliatory hit.

It was changed on video review for a Hinchliffe elbow, the home side regaining composure after the brawl with Tony Williams - replacing namesake David on the right wing - crossing four minutes from halftime.

He added another 17 minutes after the restart to seal the win, before Billy Slater added some respectability to the scoreline with a late try for the Storm.

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