HIGHLIGHTS: Mounties-Sea Eagles (Rd 3)
By Matt Buxton at Aubrey Keech Reserve
Mount Pritchard Mounties cruised their way to a 46-20 victory against the Manly Sea Eagles which saw 12 tries in windy conditions.
Glen Buttriss exploded out-of-the-blocks early and had a hand in the three opening tries. Mounties halves pairing – Sam Williams and Sam Duggan – completely took control of the game to steer their side to victory.
However, it wasn’t the perfect beginning for the Mounties, when Williams kicked the ball out on the full in the second minute.
They recovered easily through Buttriss who forced a dropout in the sixth minute and scored off the next set with Williams converting the try.
Duggan had the Sea Eagles under pressure early with a strong kicking performance and in the 14th minute set up Jack Ahearn to score, making it 12-0 following the conversion.
Buttriss was strong out of dummy half when in the 21st minute he passed to Williams who dummied to score for the Mounties third try of the day and a large 18-0 lead.
The next eight minutes saw both sides miss several chances and frustration started to set in with penalties handed for foul play before a small skirmish broke out.
Jayden Hodges then burrowed in from dummy half in the 29th minute to get the Sea Eagles on the board. Kurt Aldridge converted the try to make it 18-6.
Five minutes later, the Sea Eagles were on the attack again, and Ben Fritz scored a wonderful try courtesy of a chip kick to the left corner.
Aldridge failed with the conversion but it seemed the Sea Eagles might repeat their stunning comeback from the week before.
The potential comeback was halted when Luke Page muscled his way over to score for the Mounties on the stroke of half time. The Sea Eagles players protested the decision, but it was awarded and converted, which meant the Mounties took a 24-10 half-time lead.
The Sea Eagles started the second half with an immediate knock-on through Uiti Baker but managed to recover quickly and score two minutes later thanks to an impressive backline shift finished by Dom Reardon that cut the deficit to 24-14.
Ten minutes later, the Sea Eagles were in again after a leaping Manaia Rudolph scored a wonderful try. Aldridge converted for Manly to trail 24-20 and the comeback was in full motion.
However, the Mounties ran in 26 unanswered points to crush Manly and their chance of capturing the comeback victory.
Williams threw a beautiful pass to put Pat Mataele through and kick the conversion for a 30-20 lead.
The game was then put to bed thanks to consecutive tries under the posts to Mounties prop, Mark Nicholls.
Kyle O’Donnell set up the first try with a great pass, and then Kurt Baptiste threw the ball to Nicholls six minutes later from dummy half who completed his double. Both tries were converted and it was 42-20 with only 12 minutes remaining.
Dave Cahalane put the icing-on-the-cake for the Mounties in the 77th minute when he scored a very simple try on the right edge. Williams missed his first kick of the day, with the final score being 46-20.
Aldridge was a standout performer for the Sea Eagles in a losing side but a dominant display by the Mounties spine ensured a comfortable victory in the end.
The Mounties will face West Tigers next week at Leichhardt Oval in a battle between the two undefeated sides, while the Sea Eagles will host the Newtown Jets at Brookvale Oval.
MOUNTIES 46 (M Nicholls 2, J Ahearn, D Cahalane, S Williams, G Buttriss, P Mataele, L Page tries; S Williams 7 goals) bt. MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES 20 (B Fritz, D Reardon, J Hodges, M Rudolph tries; K Aldridge 2 goals)