Sluggish Sea Eagles blown away as Titans breach Brookvale fortress

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At times on Saturday night, it seemed like Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans was the only player on the field for the home team in what was his club’s 700th game on their beloved Brookvale home turf.

He booted a 40/20 early in the second half in a bid to reinvigorate the Manly side and give them some momentum after they had trailed 16-2 at the break. Sean Keppie scored soon after and Reuben Garrick added a penalty to cut the gap to six before the Gold Coast again kicked clear.

Christian Tuipulotu is tackled. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)Credit: Getty

The Queensland halfback’s kicking game wasn’t enough to pull Manly in front and after entering round nine in second position on the ladder, they could tumble down as low as seventh after going down 26-10 to the Titans.

Manly’s’ right-side defence leaked points all night, with Jason Saab and Morgan Harper unable to hold-back the strength of Titans second-rower David Fifita.

A try to Phil Sami midway through the second half gave the visitors a 10-point cushion before a line break from Gold Coast young gun Jayden Campbell sealed the Sea Eagles fate, after he showed fancy footwork to set up a try for Klese Haas.

After that, even the fans, who had stuck it out in the rain and the win all night, had lost hope – leaving the stadium with 10 minutes still left on the clock.

Manly’s poor discipline had cost them all night, highlighted no more than when Toafofoa Sipley was put on report and sent to the sin-bin for a crusher tackle on Sami.

Manly’s inability to come up with fresh plays kept them from getting points on the board for much of the game.

Perhaps that’s why news came out mid-game that the Sea Eagles are set to sign Bulldogs halfback Kyle Flanagan, with uncertainty hanging around when playmaker Josh Schuster will return to the game due to ongoing fitness woes.

But it was Manly who were dominant in the opening stages, and after the first 15 minutes of the game, the result looked like it would only be going one way.

Two ruck infringements, a penalty and a line drop-out all in the first five minutes of the game had the Sea Eagles knocking on the Titans’ door before the visitors barely had a chance to touch the ball.

But for all the possession they had, Manly barely had anything to show for it. They had no luck pushing through the Titans’ left-side defence despite having two chances to score in the corner early on.

An impressive scramble from former Manly playmaker Kieran Foran and Brian Kelly kept the ball up by barely a finger when Saab burst over the line.

After a frustrating few sets for Manly, who after multiple repeat sets came up fruitless, Cherry-Evans opted to put his team on the board with a penalty kick in front of the posts. But that’s where Manly’s luck ended.

After that, the visitors were away, and the Sea Eagles’ first half was derailed even further with the Sipley sin-binning.

After the first try from Alofiana Khan-Pereira, Foran and Gold Coast kicker Tanah Boyd targeted the Manly right side, and proved too boisterous for a team missing star fullback Tom Trbojevic, centre Brad Parker and Schuster.

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