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By Michael Mapstone

The New Zealand Warriors came out on top of after a tense tussle with Manly to maintain their grip on a top eight position.

The Warriors opened the scoring after just four minutes in an unlikely manner, as Manly fullback Clint Gutherson appeared to have saved a try by raking the ball from the grasp of charging second rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner, only to have the loose pill dived upon by NZ winger Jarred Wilson. Five-eight Tuimoala Lolohea missed the conversion from wide out.

Just seven minutes later Wilson crossed again, Carlos Tuimavave giving the last pass as the Warriors spread the ball to the right. Lolohea this time had no trouble converting from the sideline to put his team ahead 10-0.

Just two minutes later the visitors were able to break the line with simple passing for backrower Raymond Faitala Mariner to score an easy four pointer. Lolohea converted to make it 16-0 and it appeared a cakewalk was on the cards.

The Sea Eagles finally emerged from their slumber at the 19th minute mark with some quick play following a penalty. Five-eight Masada Iosefa ran cross-field to put Todd Wilson, fresh to the game off the interchange bench, into a gap that allowed him to score from his first touch. Manaia Rudolph converted from adjacent to the post to make it 16-6.

Just four minutes later the home side was back on the attack. Despite having a stacked blindside, hooker Jayden Hodges grubbered infield where Wilson was on the spot to claim a double beside the posts. Rudolph converted to make the score 16-12 and, despite further raids by both sides, it would remain that way at the break.

The Warriors were pressing again within two minutes of the resumption. On their last play they opted for Agnatius Paasi to charge at the Manly line and the powerful Tongan-born forward crashed over under the posts. Lolohea’s conversion pushed the margin to 10 points.

Manly were put under plenty of further pressure in the opening part of the second stanza and showed some strength in their on-line defence that had been missing earlier.

They were rewarded midway through the half when an attacking opportunity finally presented, halfback Rudolph taking it upon himself to slice through the Warriors’ line for a relatively easy try. Having brought the ball around under the posts he gave himself the easiest of conversions to make the scoreline 22-18.

Both sides had chances in the final 20 minutes. Despite several errors, Manly looked likely on a couple of occasions in the dying stages but, with the Warriors defending valiantly, were unable to pull out a match winning play.

The Warriors will be in Australia once again in round eleven when the head to North Sydney Oval to tackle the Bears on Saturday afternoon while the Sea Eagles will be in action at Brooky again when they host the Panthers.

New Zealand Warriors 22 (J Wilson 2, A Paasi, R Faitala Mariner tries; T Lolohea 3 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 18 (T Wilson 2, M Rudolph tries; M Rudolph 3 goals) at Brookvale Oval.

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