Fresh of the bye in round 18, the Warriors starting all guns blazing against the Broncos, who were backing up from a Monday night loss to Penrith, last week scoring twice inside of the first ten minutes.
Two tries to the Broncos though within five minutes of the half-time break, stole the advantage the Warriors had.
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The lead changed several times in the second half and the Warriors will be left rueing their missed opportunities, especially late in the game where the peppered the Broncos try-line on several occasion.
In the end the Warriors fell 6 points short (28 – 22) but it was game that they should have won and would’ve seen them win four straight.
The loss sees the Warriors now seventh on the ladder, tied on 20 competition points with Broncos, Strom and West Tigers, and only one win in front of four other teams.
The Warriors have won their last four at Mt. Smart and have gone with predominately the same side as last week which includes Ben Henry in the forwards. The big second rower has scored four tries in the past four matches.
After defeating the Dragons last Monday night 21 – 12, Manly now sit alone atop of the competition ladder.
Despite some controversy around several key players just prior to the match, the Sea Eagles submitted another professional effort in securing their fifth win from the past six matches.
Steve Matai again scored first – he’s proven a gold mine in this market in 2014 – his twelfth try from seventeen matches this season. He has crossed three times against the Warriors in their past five clashes.
The Sea Eagles will go with the same starting thirteen as last week with the only change to the side being the inclusion of James Hasson to the bench.
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HEAD TO HEAD
Manly have won seven of their last eight against the Warriors but in most of those victories, they’ve had to earn the competition points the hard way with only two wins being achieved by a margin of over ten points.
The Warriors had their opportunities last week and if they are to improve their record over Manly, they’ll have to take each one presented to them on Sunday.
Manly will definitely take most of theirs and importantly, their defence will not be frazzled by the adlib play of the Warriors.
Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Rapira
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Anthony Watmough, Jamie Buhrer, Tom Symonds. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, Dunamis Lui, James Hasson, Jason King