Wests Tigers have handed Manly a wet weather footballing lesson in a 34-18 win at a sodden Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
The Tigers totally dominated the first half, scoring four-tries-to-one and went to the sheds ahead 26-6 after a late Jamie Lyon try that gave the Sea Eagles some hope of a comeback
But that hope all but evaporated when David Nofoaluma scored his second try in the 53rd minute to put the Tigers out to 32-6 with Pat Richards’ conversion.
In one of their worst performances for some time Manly’s poor ball handling that punctuated the first stanza continued in the second.
But the Tigers were worthy winners before 16,311 fans, dominating the ruck through Robbie Farah and the yardage and showing they are genuine premiership contenders.
In driving rain with the wind on their backs the Tigers blew Manly off the park in the opening half to the extent that the Sea Eagles had to wait until the 35th minute for their first play-the-ball in Wests’ 20m zone.
Tigers skipper Robbie Farah started things off in the eighth minute when he grubbered through for himself. With that conversion and a penalty goal the Tigers led 8-0 after 20 minutes led up front by Aaron Woods with Marty Taupau later adding significant punch off the bench.
Nofoaluma scored out wide when the Tigers went through the hands in the 24th minute and when Chris Lawrence’s hard-running couldn’t be stopped three minutes later the home side led 20-0.
Woods then crashed over untouched one pass off the ruck next to the posts and with another Pat Richards goal the Tigers had jumped out to a 26-0 lead after 34 minutes.
Manly finally got on the board in the 40th minute when Jamie Lyon caught a Kieran Foran kick and then converted for a 26-6 score at the break.
Farah complained Manly’s final play-the-ball had come after time, and officials later said the automated siren did not go off.
“That’s an issue for the club to get better sirens,” referee Ashley Klein told Farah.
That incident steeled the Tigers after the break and they did well to keep rolling forward through the second half into the wind as Steve Matai scored a double.
Brett Stewart had a forgettable return at fullback for Manly, dropping a number of balls in his first game since round one. Glenn Stewart missed the game through concussion suffered last week.
Tim Simona was solid in his return from injury for the Tigers, while a James Tedesco ankle complaint took some of the gloss off the win. He went off in the 50th minute and didn’t return.