The North Sydney Bears easily defeated a disappointing Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 32-18 in the ‘Northern Derby’ at Brookvale Oval this afternoon to keep their place in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW top eight.
The loss was made worse for the Sea Eagles as they lost both halves – Isaac John in his comeback game and skipper Pita Godinet – to serious concussion and neck injuries that saw both playmakers stretchered off from their injuries and take no further part in the match.
Both John and Godinet will almost certainly miss Manly’s catch up game against Newcastle at Brookvale Oval on Wednesday night as a result.
After a bright attacking start for Manly came up empty, the Bears opened the scoring when fullback Latrell Schaumkel crossed in the seventh minute from close range. Eli Levido converted and Norths led 6-0.
Levido extended the lead when he scored four minutes later through poor Manly goal line defence. The halfback’s conversion double the Bears lead to 12-0.
When Bears second-rower Jack Gosiewski burst through three tackles wide out in the 15th minute, the Bears looked to ready to rack up a cricket score at 16-0.
Prodigal son Jamil Hopoate ran a nice angle off a Godinet pass to score under the posts in the 19th minute to put Manly on the board at 16-6 with Dylan Kelly’s conversion.
Shortly after Hopoate’s try, Godinet then went down with his neck injury from a solid tackle after passing to his support players. This set Manly right back on their heels.
The Bears took full advantage in the 27th minute when centre Michael Oldfield revived memories of past Manly glories when he beautifully leapt up for a Levido cross kick to mark in two hands and score to extend the Norths lead to 20-6.
Bears skipper Ed Murphy then burst through more token Manly goal line defence in the next set from the restart to give Norths a commanding 24-6 lead at the break.
Hopoate got Manly off to the best possible start when he bagged his second try in Manly’s first real attack of the second half to bring the Sea Eagles within striking distance at 24-12 with Kelly’s conversion.
That was as close as Manly got for the rest of the day as Norths then made the most of Manly turnovers.
Murphy got his second try in the corner in the 53rd minute from the set after Manly winger Clint McGuire dropped a high bomb for 28-12.
Then John went down with concussion when he got knocked out making the first tackle from the restart set to see him take no part.
This was too much for the frustrated Sea Eagles to bear and prop Liam Knight was sin binned by referee Liam Nicholls for dissent,
From the ensuing penalty, Bears winger Abbas Miski made sure of the two competition points with an easy try in the corner for 32-12. Levido again missed the conversion – indeed he missed his his last five shots to finish with only two from seven with the boot.
Hopoate completed his hat-trick of tries with nine minutes left to get one last consolation for the Sea Eagles and close the scoring at 32-18 with Kelly’s conversion.
Manly back up to play Newcastle in their catch up game against Newcastle at Brookvale Oval on Wednesday Night at 6:00pm, while the Bears travel to Morrie Breen Oval next Sunday to take on the Wyong Roos in their next assignment.