Sorry Warriors slump to fifth loss after Manly capitulation




Manly inflicted pain on the New Zealand Warriors with a crushing 44-12 win that leaves Nathan Brown in deep trouble.

With no players missing from Origin and on a four-game losing streak, it was a weekend Brown would have wanted a performance: Instead, his team served up one of his worst of the year, especially in the first half.

The stats barely do him justice: they lost the 66/34 possession split and Manly had 92% of the territory, with the Warriors making just four tackles in the Sea Eagles’ half.

The manner of the trials, too, will be deeply disappointing. At least three came from an unforgivable goal-line defense.

For Manly, Haumole Olakau’atu was immense: he covered 144 m in less than an hour, including 120 in the first half alone. Two wings in particular will be long remembered – he hopes Brad Fittler will tune in to the NSW camp.

Josh Schuster was rocks and diamonds in his first run at five-eights this year, scoring a try and producing trademark soft hands, but had more than his share of errors. There was probably enough in his performance to get him another run in that time.

The Warriors die rolled early, with the first of many very soft tries. The Sea Eagles maneuvered into position and looked to spread out to get into shape, only to have Toafofoa Sipley burrow a yard away.

Manly was having fun. They pressured the Kiwis into submission, forcing Reece Walsh to kick 25 yards out and immediately launched their attack.

Olakau’atu had his own personal masterclass. He took out one of the season’s bumpers to dispatch Chanel Harris-Tevita and bounced Marcelo Montoya into a tackle like a ball bouncing off a wall. In between, he was able to take multiple Warriors with him to score.

Manly then scored a penalty and might have had a penalty try after Bunty Afoa held off Reuben Garrick.

Like everything for the Warriors, it turned out worse for them anyway: Afoa was taken out and Marty Taupau turned an innocuous hit into four runs, which. It was, by far, the smoothest trial of the year so far.

Manly added another before parity was restored. Koula crossed the line for the second time, and as he was finally stopped, the Sea Eaglues spread to the left for Josh Schuster to force his way through.

The Warriors decided to play a bit more after the break. Manly started the scoring with a penalty, but with a 26-0 lead, failed to match his intensity and gradually ceded his position on the pitch to his opponents.

Jack Murchie might have had his side on the board, catching a kick over the line, but was superbly denied by Morgan Harper. The lock eventually made it to the board, with Reece Walsh running it through a hole.

Despite having the majority of the ball and the pitch, the Warriors’ defensive problems continued. Harper was able to split them down the middle inside his own half and send Garrick off with an inside ball.

Garrick caught another – a rambling one from a Lachlan Croker kick – before Bunty Afoa proved Manly’s central defense is equally responsive, crashing under the sticks.

The Warriors could still shoot themselves in the foot. With two minutes remaining and looking for consolation points, Walsh – who had struggled to find Dallin Watene-Zelezniak with long passes all night – finally found a winger.

Unfortunately for him, it was Jason Saab, who put a lid on the performance by running 95m to the line.




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