Matai brace as Manly beat Warriors in NRL

Manly, with veteran centre Steve Matai grabbing a double, have maintained their status as a bogey team for the Warriors with a 34-18 NRL win in Auckland.


It was the Sea Eagles’ fourth victory in a row over the Warriors and their 10th in the past 11 meetings between the sides.

The result on Saturday night takes them to 3-3 for the season and above the Warriors on the table.

Coach Trent Barrett said he was aware of the Sea Eagles’ record over the Auckland club, but ultimately it didn’t mean a lot to him or the players.

“We had a big job to do against a side that had won two in a row,” he said.

“I thought to a man we didn’t have a bad player today.”

Barrett said his team laid the groundwork with the way they began the match, including producing some solid defence.

“We just showed a lot of intent in everything we did,” he said.

“Our aim was to start well and we built our way into the game. We had a pretty simple plan and every one of them did a terrific job.”

The Warriors were also seeking their third win of the year and coach Andrew McFadden said conceding 30-plus points at home wasn’t good enough.

But he also gave credit to Manly, who he said were physical and showed plenty of enthusiasm.

“It wasn’t the worst performance,” he said.

“We got beaten by a very good side who had lots of energy. They played a pretty tight game and we fell over at the end.”

Manly dominated possession in the first 25 minutes, when they built a 12-0 lead through tries to back-rower Martin Taupau and prop Josh Starling.

The Warriors hit back before halftime through centre Blake Ayshford.

Matai grabbed his first try early in the second spell after a contentious decision.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata had appeared to make it out of the in-goal, only for referee Gavin Reynolds to rule a line dropout.

“It was a big call,” McFadden said.

“I thought he got it wrong but we have to live with that.”

Skipper Ryan Hoffman, asked if the bunker had been involved in the decision, said he had gone up and queried who had made the call.

“He said they all made it,” Hoffman said.

“I find it hard that five people can get that decision wrong.”

Issac Luke gave the Warriors hope when he barged over from dummy half, before Matai completed his brace with nine minutes to go.

There was time for Kata to grab his seventh try of the season, but the Sea Eagles had the last say when winger Tom Trbojevic crossed in the final minute.

Two players were put on report, Manly five-eighth Dylan Walker for an intended trip and Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman for a high tackle.