Brutal Marlins claim ANZAC Day derby spoils

Photo: SPA Images

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The high-flying Marlins welcomed Warringah to Manly Oval for the match of the day in the TNSS rivalry round at the weekend. Zero from five at the start of last year, they lead the competition this time around while the Rats are looking to get back onto the winner’s dais after two successive losses.

The pre-match build up saw ANZAC Day remembered by the playing of the last post, and a minute’s silence that was impeccably observed by the crowd of over 3,000. But when the whistle blew, the first ten minutes saw both teams embroiled in a kicking contest with neither side wanting to make the first mistake.

The expected physicality was there from the start, with Manly in particular looking to dominate up front in the early skirmishes. The home side upped the ante in the aggression stakes and started to take the game to their opponents, and pressure on the Rats kicker saw a short clearance to touch give the Marlins a good position with which to to strike from the ensuing lineout.

The ball was successfully claimed and some fast and accurate offloading soon switched play to the opposite flank. Scrumhalf Chris Cottee cut back in from the right, and a beautiful reverse pass onto the chest of Wil Brame saw the skipper barrel towards the posts for the opening points. Man of the moment Adam D’Arcy converted with ease and it was game on.

Manly’s confidence grew with the breakthrough, and they started to take control of the game across the park. Their front-row was causing damage, while flyhalf Josh Gamgee was orchestrating play beautifully, mixing his kicking game up with a variety of bombs and grubbers but also not afraid to take the ball straight at the line.

One such bomb was plucked from the air by Brame, who was summarily the meat in a Warringah sandwich. He still managed to offload to his support runners, and it needed some resolute defence by the Rats to prevent another score.

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Manly skipper Wil Brame was in the thick of the action throughout – Photo: SPA Images

With two minutes to go before oranges the Rats looked to strike back. On a rare excursion into the Manly half, a quick tap-and-go from Sam Harris saw him fall just inches short of the line. The ball was then recycled to Scott Fardy who got his body low, only to accelerate into a massive hit from Brame which effected a crucial turnover.

Play was hastily switched to the other end of the field as the Marlins looked to capitalise on the gaps left by Warringah’s last attack. The ball went wide to Brian Sefanaia, who stepped inside a couple of tackles and offloaded to D’Arcy, who in turn found Lui Siale hugging the touchline.

As the blue and red half of the crowd rose to their feet in anticipation, Siale took off with the line in sight. But the Rats had scrambled well and brought him to ground metres short of his objective, and when the siren duly sounded for half-time, the visitor’s were relieved to go to the sheds only seven points behind.

The second half started with a flourish as the Rats attacked the Manly line looking for an early opening. Scrumhalf Layne Kelleher fed an inside ball to the waiting John Kennedy, and the young no.10 offered a show and go before finding twin brother Maurice, who was unceremoniously smashed to the floor.

But a familiar pattern began to emerge as the Marlins took control once again. Rumbling their way forward from a lineout on halfway, a succession of pick and drives eventually forced a penalty just to the right of the posts. The reliable D’Arcy did the honours, and the hosts led 10-0.

However, having struggled to go through the Marlins line, Warringah finally found success going over it. A chip and re-gather attempt by Kelleher just over halfway failed to find its instigator, but was plucked from the air instead by team mate Paul MacGugan, who spotted a rare gap in the home defence and headed for the corner.

The conversion was expertly negotiated by Harris, particularly considering the added pressure being applied by a heckler with a megaphone standing just the other side of the ropes and doing his utmost to put him off. A bit of abuse from the sidelines in clubland is one thing but using a megaphone – I mean, seriously?

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Maurice Kennedy tried his best to get the Rats on the front-foot – Photo: SPA Images

There was a temporary lull in hostilities as the brutality of the contest started to take its toll. But the game roared into life once more as Manly struck what would prove to be the killer blow.

D’Arcy called for a chip kick into space off the back of a Manly scrum, and the ball went up and over the defensive line but the fullback couldn’t quite reach it. It was swatted backwards off the floor by a scrambling defender hoping to find a green and white shirt, but was instead picked up by Marlins no.8 Daniel Collins, who still had the legs left in him to race away for the corner. D’Arcy’s conversion only just dropped over the bar for a 17-7 lead.

Warringah’s talented Kennedy twins had shown quick feet and inventive offloads throughout, but were regularly bashed into the turf for their efforts. And when one of these tackles was deemed to be a high shot and Harris accepted the easy three points on offer, hopes of a late turnaround began to build.

As full-time drew nearer, the Rats desperately tried to keep the ball alive and get the ball down the other end of the field. And hearts were in mouths every time they got over the halfway line as the locals feared a last minute comeback. But with everyone on the edge of their seat the siren sounded, the Marlins forced yet another turnover, and D’Arcy kicked into touch for victory.

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MANLY 17 (Wil Brame, Daniel Collins tries; Adam D’Arcy 2 con, pen) defeated WARRINGAH 10 (Paul MacGugan try; Sam Harris con, pen) at Manly Oval. HT 7-0

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Manly: 1. Eddie Aholelei; 2. Elvis Taione; 3. James Lakepa; 4. Will Munsie; 5. Toby Martin; 6. Dylan Sigg; 7. Wil Brame (c); 8. Daniel Collins; 9. Chris Cottee; 10. Josh Gamgee; 11. Lupini Siale; 12. Brian Sefanaia; 13. Luke Johnson; 14. Leon Bott; 15. Adam D’Arcy

Warringah: 1. Pingi Talaapitaga; 2. Jono Ede; 3. Dan Barnard; 4. Hugh Pyle; 5. Scott Fardy (c); 6. Paul MacGugan; 7. Mitch Greenway; 8. Andy Rasmus; 9. Layne Kelleher; 10. John Kennedy; 11. Matt Clarke; 12. Sam Harris; 13. Brad Domek; 14. Ed Doyle; 15. Maurice Kennedy

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Original version published by clubrugby.com.au on April 27th, 2009

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