Dubbed the battle of the “Fibros versus the Silvertails”, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles comfortably defeated the Western Suburbs Magpies 46-8 in Round 1 of the VB New South Wales Cup.
The match was played at the former Western Suburbs home ground of Lidcombe where tradition permeated the atmosphere on a festive day. Wests jerseys with the former sponsor Victa were seen everywhere, whilst in attendance the comedic 2GB Continuous Call team added to the entertainment. Manly legend Cliff Lyons was coaching his first match with the NSW cup team, whilst the West Magpies were looking to defend their honour on their old stomping ground.
The match began well for the Magpies which saw them take an early lead against an experienced Sea Eagles unit. Wests five - eighth Chris Nay opened the account with a try at the 10 minute mark. The Magpies had played inspiring football but were unable to capitalise on their efforts. The Sea Eagles took nearly half an hour to settle into their game plan with Mitch Jowett cutting through the Wests defence to score a try with Liam Foran converting and taking the lead.
It seemed after the first Manly try, any resistance offered by Wests failed to stem a determined Manly attack. Dominic Nasso took full advantage of a penalty and scored with Foran again converting and pushing the lead to 12-4.
On the stroke of half time Ben Falcone broke through and increased Manly’s lead, with a Foran conversion. Half time saw the Sea Eagles leading comfortably 18-4.
The second half saw Manly assert their dominance over Wests. Premiership Prop George Rose provided solid defence, whilst Scott Blanch added more points on the board taking the score to 24-4.
Wests didn't give up with Merv Williamson getting over the line at the 62nd minute and kept the Magpie’s faint hopes alive. Ben Falcone closed the door on a brave Wests effort when he scored his second try of the day. Liam Foran was superbly accurate in front of the posts, converting once more and Manly led 30-8. Ben Falcone raced again to the try line for Manly and notched his third try of the day. The rout didn't stop there with Faleula Finau cranking the score to 46-8 and that’s where it remained.
Manly were clearly the better side, with Ben Falcone being the standout. Special mention must go to Liam Foran. He created plenty of headaches for the Wests defence, along with his accurate conversion kicking, Foran surely will be making an appearance in the NRL sometime this season. George Rose also had a solid hit out and seemed to appreciate the run.
For Wests there weren't too may bright moments. Seefa Silafau showed some positive glimpses and looked more confident as time went on. Try scorers Merv Williamson and Chris Nay deserved a mention as does Aaron Sweeney who worked tirelessly for Wests against a very solid Eagles attack.
Manly coach Cliff Lyons told NMGSports that he was happy with the win “It’s a great thrill to win my first game as coach. I thought our second half was our best period. We controlled the ball a lot better than our first half and we completed our sets. We needed to lift our percentage rates in the second half and that’s what we did”.
Final score: Manly - Warringah Sea Eagles 46 defeated Western Suburbs Magpies 8
Battle of the birds goes to the Silvertails at Lidcombe Oval
March 3 2012
by Jodie Newell