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The Rock-itt : May 2010
The Manly Sea Eagles Harold Matthews (u16) and SG Ball sides (u18) have now completed their seasons with the younger side fairing a little better in season 2010 than their older counterparts. A week after both teams registered impressive victories of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the sides travelled down to the nation's capital to go head to head with the Canberra Raiders. The Harold Matthews sidelined up first and in a physical encounter, the sides couldn't be separated at the end of the 60 minutes and it finished a 14- 14 draw. That 1-point would be valuable for the Sea Eagles in the scheme of the finals picture. The SG Ball side coming off their first victory of the season were looking to pull off their second upset in a fortnight. The game was practically a mirror image of the first game with both teams making sure that ice baths were at a premium after the fulltime siren went with some heavy shots throughout the game. Sea Eagles halfback, Josh Drinkwater, slotted a field goal with just minutes remaining before the Sea Eagles clinched the match- sealing try at the siren for a 37-30 victory. Round 8 saw the teams go to the home of the Jets, Henson Park, to take on the Sydney Roosters. With the 747 jets flying over the ground before landing at Sydney's Airport, it was the Sea Eagles Harold Matthews side that was flying in the first game of the afternoon. Manly were all over their Eastern Suburbs rivals, piling on plenty of first half points to take a big lead into halftime. It didn't get much better in the second as the visiting side continued to fine tune the set plays before the upcoming finals series on their way to a comfortable 34-4 victory. The SG Ball side were on a run, but were up against a major premiership contender in the Roosters. Unfortunately, the Sea Eagles reverted to the style of play that had seen the under 18-side kick-off the season with a 0-5 record. The Roosters demonstrated they were a class above on the day, downing the Sea Eagles side 46-10. Round 9 was the final week of the regular season. The Harold Matthews side had the bye, which was ideal timing, as they had to prepare for the gruelling finals schedule. The SG Ball side didn't have the bye but went into the game knowing it would be their last of the season as they went to the other side of the nation to clash with the newest addition to the junior representative competition, the Western Australia Reds, in Perth. The side ended a disappointing season on a high note getting the better of fellow cellar dweller 30-22. Manly's Harold Matthews' side travelled to Sydney's Golden West to take on the Western Suburbs at St. Mary's Western Weekender Stadium. The sides had met earlier in the season with Manly getting the spoils that day 44-16. The game was similar to that of the round 4 clash with Manly relentlessly scoring points as they annihilated the Magpies 54-4. Full back, Clinton Gutherson produced what would have one of the best individual displays in the competition's history, and is sure to be a constant in the Wests Magpies players' nightmares for a while. He scored 18 points, made 5 line-breaks and grabbed an incredible 4 try assists. He also gained great support from Latrell Schaumkel who along with Gutherson have been the Sea Eagles greatest attacking weapons all season. Round 2 of the playoffs had the Sea Eagles take on the much more skilled, much more regimented Newcastle Knights side, at again Western Weekender Stadium. It was more of a defensive orientated game, which produced the crowd with a grandstand finish. Points were scarce in the first half with the only try coming from a grubber to Sea Eagles second receiver, Blake Lang and a conversion from Gutherson. Newcastle came back from the sheds after halftime and grabbed a quick reply, and continued to mount pressure for a second with the help of a favourable penalty count. The Knights were camped inside the Sea Eagles 20 but a resilient defensive effort kept the Knights out for over 10 minutes before the inevitable happened and the Novacastrians crashed over. The game looked done and dusted before an inspired run from Manly's best on ground Jake Trbojevic resulted in the Sea Eagles 2nd try of the match with just 4 minutes remaining. The Knights then broke the hearts of all Sea Eagles players and officials with less than a minute remaining after pouncing on a Sea Eagles error and running 30 metres untouched to score under the posts, sealing Manly's fate. It was a mixed season for Manly. At the beginning of the year big things were expected from the SG Ball side as they attempted to repeat their final 4 finish of last season but couldn't get clicking as a team until it was too late. While the Harold Matthews side would have been satisfied just to make the finals, but coming within a whisker of the third round in the finals is something they can be proud of.