Manly Sea Eagles gained a surprise 8-30 victory over North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville tonight at 1300SMILES Stadium to record their first victory of the season, while the Cowboys have lost their unbeaten record in 2017.
Both teams began with penalty goals but the Cowboys took the lead when hooker Jake Granville dived over from dummy-half to give them an 8-2 lead.
But when Daly Cherry-Evans kicked a 40/20 kick and then grubbered in-goal for Jorge Taufua to touch down, the scores were level and few Cowboys fans would have anticipated their side not scoring another point.
Tom Trbojevic gave Manly a half-time lead after he blocked a Thurston kick and ran ninety metres to score, making the interval scoreline 14-8.
In the second half the Sea Eagles took a decisive hold on the game with a penalty goal from Dylan Walker and a try on 51 minutes from Branton Lawrence, which Walker converted. He added another penalty on 58 minutes to stretch the lead to 8-24, and the Sea Eagles confirmed their superiority with a late try by Jackson Hastings, with Walker adding his seventh goal of the evening.
Cowboys: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Javid Bowen 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (c) 8. Patrick Kaufusi 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 16. Coen Hess 12. Ethan Lowe; Subs: 14. Ben Hampton 15. John Asiata 17. Sam Hoare 18. Shaun Fensom.
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Blake Green, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (C), 8 Brenton Lawrence, 9 Api Koroisau, 10 Nate Myles, 11 Frank Winterstein, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic; Subs: 15 Lewis Brown, 17 Shaun Lane, 19 Jackson Hastings, 21 Billy Bainbridge.
Full coverage of the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.