By Jackson Russell at Aubrey Keech Reserve
The Mounties returned to the winners list with a narrow 32-30 win over the fast finishing Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday.
On the back of an early penalty Mounties drew first blood, spreading the ball to centre Moses Pangai for a 6-0 lead.
Three minutes later they were at it again when lock Clay Priest made a bust to go over out wide to make it 10-0.
Manly needed to strike back and they did, coming in the form of a massive run from Epalahame Lauaki who carried defenders as he crashed over next to the posts.
Mounties quickly extended their advantage on the back of a repeat set when Kyle O’Donnell was able to get over.
Then ill-discipline from Manly gave Mounties another chance, which Jack Ahearn took after a great ball from Mitch Cornish to put the score to 22-6.
As the first half closed Manly had the majority of the attack camped on the Mounties line. Eventually they were able to get through after a well-placed grubber from Jayden Hodges was pounced on by Dominic Reardon, making it 22-12 at the halftime break.
Mounties were in immediately to start the second half when Ahearn grabbed his second of the afternoon.
Tensions and frustrations came over both sides, which saw Mounties, Reece Goldsmith and Manly’s Daniel Harrison sent to the sin bin.
This rallied the Manly side who scored moving the ball to centre, Tony Satini.
Manly were on a roll and were quickly in again this time winger Delroy Berryman touched down and they were back in the game at 28-20.
Cornish and his side struck back however when he put Jake Foster into a yawning gap to put it to 32-20.
A daring kick from Sean Meaney saw the Sea Eagles gain a repeat set and a long ball from Jack Littlejohn saw Berryman dive over on the sideline for his second and it was 32-24 with just 10 minutes left.
The next Manly try was a classic when Littlejohn put in a cross-field kick, which was taken by Berryman who then put another kick through, and regathered under the posts to set up a tense finish at 32-30.
Manly had last minute raids on the Mounties line however they were able to repel the attack to hold out for the win.
Next week see’s Mounties with the week off, while Manly head across the Tasman to face the New Zealand Warriors.
Mounties 32 (J Ahearn 2, M Pangai, K O’Donnell, J Foster, C Priest tries; M Cornish 4 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 30 (D Berryman 3, D Reardon, T Satini, E Lauaki tries; S Meaney 3 goals) at Aubrey Keech Reserve.