Miraculous Manly pay high price for victory
Sea Eagles 24 Warriors 22
Having a go ... Lewis Brown of the Warriors looks to break past David Williams of the Sea Eagles. Photo: Getty Images
MANLY skipper Jason King was taken to hospital as the Sea Eagles staged a remarkable comeback to defeat the Warriors at Perth's Patersons Stadium last night.
The Warriors were in complete command after racing to an 18-0 lead within 32 minutes, and still looked to have the game in the bag when they led 22-6 after Manu Vatuvei's 45th-minute try.
Takes some stopping ... Jamie Lyon of the Sea Eagles. Photo: Getty Images
But two tries to Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in the final eight minutes tied the score before co-captain Jamie Lyon kicked the match-winning conversion. Lyon had missed three earlier and the relief was evident as he found his range when it mattered most.
But King's injury soured the night for Manly, who kept their top-four hopes alive with their 11th win of the season. King walked gingerly from the field in the 16th minute after coming off second-best in a tackle, and was sent to hospital for assessment. The exact nature of the injury wasn't immediately clear.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey said King had suffered some sort of chest injury and had gone for X-rays.
Contest ... Anthony Watmough of the Sea Eagles and Lewis Brown of the Warriors. Photo: Getty Images
Lyon said his match-sealing conversion was the least he could do after his earlier misses.
''I was due to kick one. I missed half a dozen other ones but luckily it was an easy kick, and it went over, so it was good,'' Lyon said.
''It was a bit of a get-out-of-jail situation. I thought all the boys showed some good courage to come back and score a few tries. It was a great result.''
Manly were woeful in the first 39 minutes, but a sensational try to winger Jorge Taufua on the stroke of half-time gave the reigning premiers hope of a revival.
Taufua ran on to a pinpoint cross-field kick from Kieran Foran and beat two lunging tackles in a 50-metre sprint to the line to finally get the Sea Eagles on the board.
The first half produced a series of bruising tackles, with several players set to face nervous waits after delivering high tackles.
Manly centre Steve Matai was one to deliver a high hit, while Warriors substitute Sione Lousi produced a crunching sling tackle.
Vatuvei's 45th-minute try gave the Warriors the momentum early in the second half, but from there, it was all Manly as the defending premiers staged a stunning reversal.
Tries to David Williams and Foran got the Sea Eagles back into the contest, before Cherry-Evans left the Warriors stunned with a double at the death. New Zealand's sixth straight loss to Manly left the Warriors' finals hopes dangling by a thread, with last year's beaten grand finalists two points adrift of eighth spot.
In an added blow, centre Konrad Hurrell was helped off the field after 15 minutes with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury, although he later returned.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan hinted that Hurrell's injury may have stemmed from something sinister.
''We'll have to look at the video. He got stamped on by Tony Williams on his foot,'' McClennan said.
''Obviously the review panel will look at that and we'll check it out ourselves. He was able to get back on but he was not managing it well, so we had to get him off in the end.''
A crowd of 20,095 attended the match in another boost to Perth's bid to get their own NRL side. But it hardly felt like home for Manly, who had to contend with a pro-Warriors crowd despite the location.
MANLY 24 (D Cherry-Evans 2 K Foran J Taufua D Williams tries J Lyon 2 goals) bt WARRIORS 22 (L Brown S Johnson K Locke M Vatuvei tries J Maloney 3 goals) at Patersons Stadium. Referee: Jared Maxwell, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 20,095.