Phil Gould‘s excitement was palpable as he witnessed a moment of brilliance during the Manly Sea Eagles‘ clash against the Sydney Roosters. In a game that wasn’t an official State of Origin match, the two Origin skippers, Daly Cherry-Evans and James Tedesco, went head to head. It was Cherry-Evans who showcased his Origin-like play-making abilities by executing a perfectly timed early kick in the tackle count. This caught Tedesco off guard, allowing Cherry-Evans to sprint down the field and collar him in the in-goal. This play shifted the momentum of the game in the Sea Eagles‘ favor.
At 34 years of age, Cherry-Evans continues to prove his worth as an influential player, not only for his state but also for his club. His captivating performance in the first half included not only the kick that pinned Tedesco but also two runaway tries, including one from an impressive intercept by Luke Keary.
However, Tedesco shouldn’t be overlooked in his efforts to salvage a moral victory for the Roosters. Despite the Origin series being already decided, Tedesco showed up with his best performance for the club in weeks.
The Sea Eagles managed to scrape through with an 18-16 victory over the Roosters at 4 Pines Park. This result lifted them above the Roosters on the ladder, putting Trent Robinson‘s men in a precarious position for making the finals. It’s surprising to see a team with such star power facing the possibility of missing out on the top eight.
Josh Schuster played a crucial role in the Sea Eagles‘ win, delivering the decisive pass to Ben Trbojevic, who scored the winning try in the final 10 minutes. Schuster’s form has been inconsistent, leaving doubts about whether he is deserving of the lucrative contract he recently signed. The trust of his teammates is also in question, especially as they observe the lasting impact of Cherry-Evans’ presence.
Cherry-Evans’ contributions were vital to the Sea Eagles‘ success. He notched the first try by capitalising on a break from Brad Parker and a kick from Reuben Garrick. He then intercepted a stray pass from Keary deep in his own half, using his exceptional game sense to give the Sea Eagles a 12-10 lead at halftime.
The Roosters fought back in the second half, with Joseph Manu scoring a superb solo try to give his team the lead. However, Victor Radley once again found himself on report for a high tackle, putting him at risk of suspension.
The final moments of the game showcased Cherry-Evans’ leadership and commitment. As the Sea Eagles desperately defended their try line in the dying minutes, the exhausted players slumped to the ground. Cherry-Evans walked to each of his teammates, supporting them with gentle pats on the back, displaying the qualities of a true leader.
In the end, the Sea Eagles secured the victory and deservedly claimed the spotlight. Cherry-Evans’ influence cannot be understated as he displayed the type of play usually associated with the intensity of Origin matches.
The final score was 18-16 in favor of the Manly Sea Eagles, with Daly Cherry-Evans scoring two tries and Ben Trbojevic also crossing the line. Reuben Garrick added three successful conversions. The Sydney Roosters managed three tries through Junior Pauga, James Tedesco, and Joseph Manu, and Sandon Smith kicked two goals. The game was officiated by Ben Cummins and drew a crowd of 17,385 spectators.