Manly snatch victory over Parramatta in Thursday night thriller
Trbojevic shines as Manly scores a victory over Parramatta
4 Pines Park: There are few better sights in rugby league than a packed hill at Brookvale standing and applauding and going old-school mad for superstar Sea Eagle Tom Trbojevic.
The Manly No.1 scored a double and could have had a third as the Sea Eagles snatched victory 34-30 over Parramatta in a Thursday night thriller.
Parramatta’s third consecutive defeat
The home side looked to be cruising to victory when the Eels ran in three tries in the final six minutes. But the comeback essentially ended when Manly milestone man Brad Parker helped shove Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses into touch.
The loss was Parramatta’s third straight defeat in as many rounds – and we need not mention Penrith and the Sydney Roosters await them in the next fortnight.
A need for Parramatta to lift
Ryan Matterson will return after he opted for the three-match ban over a $4000 fine after the grand final, but the blue and golds will need to lift – quickly – otherwise they will spot their fancied rivals too great a start, even this early in the season.
Manly looks fresh post bye
Manly looked fresh after the bye, produced plenty of stinging shots in defence, and Josh Schuster had plenty of nice touches in attack as he pulled on Kieran Foran’s No. 6 jersey.
They were guilty of inviting Parramatta into the contest too often, and coach Anthony Seibold would have been disappointed his team leaked so many points late.
Trbojevic’s impact on the game
At least Trbojevic is back and humming and looking lethal again. Without stating the bleeding obvious, if Trbojevic stays fit, the Sea Eagles will win more than their share of games.
He called Schuster for the ball early to crash over to give Manly a 14-0 lead midway through the first half.
His second try was even better because he reached out at full speed to ground the ball after Schuster had chipped over the Eels defensive line. Any concerns Trbojevic may have had about his troublesome hamstrings disappeared at that very moment. Had Parker not been pinched for an obstruction, ‘Turbo’ could have had a hat-trick.
Skipper Daly Cherry-Evans said of Schuster after the game: “His natural ability is pretty special, the way he can pass the ball and the chip and chase five metres out from the try line.
“It’s all there for him, it’s just about building consistently in the game.”
The Eels looked gone on more than one occasion, only to keep coming back.
Two tries in three minutes late in the first half got them back into the contest, then when they trailed by 12 points deep into the second half, they racked up three more tries. The last four-pointer was the best and featured a rifle-like Moses cutout pass for winger Maika Sivo.
For the record, Sivo and Moses might be a little lighter in the pocket after pulling the hair of Christian Tuipulotu and Kelma Tuilagi respectively.
Uncertainty looms for Parramatta
Who knows when Moses makes a call on his future. Who knows when Parramatta will get their first win.
They might also be without prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard after he was placed on report for shoulder charging Josh Aloiai.
Eels coach Brad Arthur admired the fightback, but after doing likewise for three weeks, they needed more.
Arthur urges for character and sticking together
“We need more than fronting up with effort each week – we need to execute our plan,” Arthur said.
As for the 0-3 start, Arthur said it would test their character, and how it was important “we stick together and don’t start looking to blame anyone else, or listen to too much opinion”.
“We know what we need to do to get ourselves back on track; we just need to go out and do it,” Arthur said.