By Michael Mapstone at Brookvale Oval
The Wyong Roos kept themselves in touch with the top eight as they prevailed in a high scoring, see-sawing affair over Manly at Brookvale.
It was Manly who got off to a dream start, regathering possession from the opening kick-off when the ball rebounded off the uprights. Within a minute Dylan Kelly found a gap in the Wyong line to cross for a four pointer, with Manaia Rudolph converting.
Manly maintained its roll through the opening minutes before Luke Bartley burst in to a gap and ran 20 metres to score. Rudolph again converted from in front to make it 12-0.
At the 16th minute mark, Manly was again looking dangerous when Roos winger Shaune Corrigan snatched an intercept against the run of play and ran 90 metres to score. Mitch Williams converted.
When Wyong finally got into position to attack the Manly line a loose ball was thrown, but as Manly winger David “Wolfman” Williams rushed forward, Jay Florimo beat him to the ball, stepped around him and ran to the line. Mitch Williams again converted and scores were level.
From the next set of six, Wyong halfback Alex Langbridge burst through the Manly line and into the backfield, where he found support from Bennett Leslie who ran away to score an easy try. Williams’ conversion made it 18-12.
Manly’s midfield defence was looking soft and Mitch Williams took advantage late in the next set, stepping through the Manly line and stepping again for a 30 metre untouched run to the line. He converted his own try from in front.
Jayden Hodges made a lunge from dummy half to just plant the ball over the line. Rudolph converted to close the margin to 24-18 with 13 minutes left before the break.
Wyong struck straight back, five-eighth Brock Molan easily cutting through some soft Manly defence to run in a four pointer next to the posts and, with Williams converting, return the lead to 12.
Shortly before the break Manly narrowed the gap again when Ligi Sao charged from close range. Rudolph’s conversion made it 30-24, which would become the half-time score.
Beyond the midway point of the second half Clint Gutherson broke through the Wyong line and sent Manaia Rudolph away. The Manly half looked to be clear but was ankle tapped just before the line. However, he was able to spring back to his feet and dive over. His conversion levelled the match at 30-all.
With seven minutes remaining Wyong came up with what proved to be the winning play as Jay Florimo leapt high to pluck down a perfectly placed cross-field kick. Williams capped a fine display of goal-kicking from both sides as he took the margin back out to six points.
This weekend the Roos are away again to the Panthers on Saturday while the Sea Eagles will enjoy the bye.
Wyong Roos 36 (J Florimo 2, S Corrigan, B Molan, M Williams, B Leslie tries; M Williams 6 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 30 (M Rudolph, L Sao, D Kelly, L Bartley, J Hodges tries; M Rudolph 5 goals) at Brookvale Oval.