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Undefeated Sea Eagles win Harold Matthews Cup

Manly SeaEagles are the 2021 Harold Matthews Cup Champions (Photo : Bryden Sharp bsphotos.com.au)
Manly SeaEagles are the 2021 Harold Matthews Cup Champions (Photo : Bryden Sharp bsphotos.com.au)

Undefeated Sea Eagles win Harold Matthews Cup

Author : Ricky Newell Seaeagles Media

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are the 2021 Harold Matthews Cup Premiers.

The Sea Eagles recorded a 24-12 victory over the Parramatta Eels in today’s NSWRL Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval.

Furthermore, the Sea Eagles finished the season as undefeated Minor Premiers and Premiers under Coach Adam McEwan and Captain Josh Feledy.

The win saw Manly claim its second Harold Matthews Cup title after beating Parramatta 26-18 in 2018.

The Sea Eagles started strongly and were the first to score after capitalising on a mistake from Parramatta when second-rower Roy Quiroz-Mapusua ran off a short pass from five-eighth Latu Fainu to push past three defenders to score. Cummins converted for a 6-0 lead.

Parramatta looked to be in for their first try when five-eighth Blaize Talagi found a hole with a dummy. He threw a massive pass out to winger Suliasi Aho who was then taken into touch off a cracking tackle by Manly captain and centre Josh Feledy.

Manly made space down the right side of the field in the 20th minute as centre Eli Sagala found his winger Revelation Sio. Sio skipped past two defenders but was met by Parramatta’s fullback Patrick Spence, who wrapped him up and forced an error.

A mistake from the Sea Eagles 25 metres out from their own line gave Parramatta another set but they were unable to keep hold of the ball as they made another error. Manly made their way down field through a handful of penalties and forced a dropout.

With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Sio dived over for a try thanks to a well-timed and held up pass from Manly full-back Lehi Hopoate, who received the ball after spotting an overlap on the right. Cummins missed the conversion attempt from the sideline for a 10-0 lead at half-time.

Parramatta’s centre Declan Murray met Hopoate with a strong tackle after a good chase, putting pressure on the fullback who was able to keep hold of the ball. With five minutes played in the second half, Cummins was taken from the field as his side looked to stop the Eels’ attack.

A penalty 20 metres out from Parramatta’s line handed Manly another set as they struck in the 38th minute to carry on their momentum from the end of the first half. The Fainu brothers linked up, with Latu finding prop Samuela, who ran hard from an inside ball to break through the line to score next to the posts. TJ Herring converted to extend the lead to 16-0.

Seaeagles Captain Josh Feledy proudly holding the 2021 Harold Matthews Cup  (Photo : Bryden Sharp bsphotos.com.au)

Seaeagles Captain Josh Feledy proudly holding the 2021 Harold Matthews Cup (Photo : Bryden Sharp bsphotos.com.au)

A scrum in favour of the Eels 30 metres out almost saw a try as Talagi attempted to step past Manly’s defence, only to be dragged down metres from the line.

Parramatta forced a dropout and gained a penalty two tackles later. Off the back of three sets and continuous pressure, the Sea Eagles finally cracked as they conceded a try.

Murray somehow pushed past the surrounding defenders and scored for Parramatta in the 45th minute. Halfback Ethan Sanders made the conversion from the sideline to take the score to 16-6.

With just under 10 minutes to play in the match, winger Calvin Levy took a cut-out pass from Fainu, who had been astounding with ball in hand, before racing away from nearly 50 metres to score. Herring missed the conversion from the sideline to make the score 20-6.

Fainu then got involved with another try, placing a chip kick over the heads of the Eels defender to find Feledy, to dive over to seal victory for a 24-6 scoreline.

The Eels then scored a late converted try as the Manly players began to celebrate their premiership victory.

Harold Matthews Cup 2021 Grand Final Full Results & Player Stat’s 

Main Photo : Bryden Sharp – bsphotos.com.au

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