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4 days ago
The Sea Eagles have stormed into the finals after a comfortable 28-12 win over a disjointed Panthers side at Lottoland in front of over 14,000 fans.
Manly produced one of their most dominant first half performances of the season on Saturday night as they looked to cement their place in this year's finals series.
It started early when Brian Kelly sliced through soft Penrith defence to give the home side an early lead. The Sea Eagles were easily winning the battle up front and their slick outside backs struck once more in the 23rd minute when Kelly outpaced Corey Harawira-Naera to find Daly Cherry-Evans backing up in support for Manly's second of the night.
Manly dominated early proceedings and marched up field in the 30th minute when Blake Green kicked a perfectly executed 40/20. Once again, Penrith's defence faltered when Jake Trbojevic barged over under the posts to give Manly a strong 16-0 lead at the break off the back of 61% of the ball.
Manly's perfect form from the first forty continued into the second half when Tom Trbojevic sprinted away down the left sideline to give the home side an early chance to strike and they took full advantage. Kelly again found space through the middle and Trobjevic was backing up in support to send the home side's lead out to 22.
Penrith fans began to get nervous after Curtis Sironen then burst through paper-thin Penrith defence in the 54th minute giving Manly an unassailable 28-0 lead. The Panthers would save their season in the 76th minute when Nathan Cleary laid on a perfect short ball for his halves partner Tyrone May to burst through and sprint away to score.
Penrith would continue their late charge when a lovely flick pass from Bryce Cartwright gave Dean Whare the space to step through and find Waqa Blake who would pass to Reagan-Campbell Gillard to claim Penrith's second. In the end, however, the Sea Eagles confirmed their spot in the Eight with a confidence-boosting 28-12 win.
Despite the disappointing loss, Penrith still qualify for the finals and could possibly meet the Sea Eagles next week. However, that will not be known until full time in Sunday afternoon's Dragons vs Bulldogs clash.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 28 - Penrith Panthers 12
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 20 Penrith Panthers 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Tom Trbojevic
2 points - Brian Kelly
1 points - Daly Cherry-Evans
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (28)
Tries: Brian Kelly, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Curtis Sironen
Conversions: Matthew Wright (4/5)
PENRITH PANTHERS (12)
Tries: Tyrone May, Regan Campbell-Gillard
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (2/2)