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Manly win Holden Cup Premiership

Wayne Cousins

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Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have won the 2017 Holden Cup Premiership.

In an exciting finish to a wonderful past month for Coach Wayne Lambkin and his men, the Sea Eagles scored inside the final minute to record a 20-18 victory over Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium.

After finishing the regular season in eighth place, the Sea Eagles beat the fifth placed Nth Qld Cowboys, minor premiers Cronulla, and the third placed St George-Illawarra Dragons to make the season decider. Parramatta beat Cronulla in week one before eliminating Penrith in week three.

The Eels opened the scoring in the fourth minute when half-back Dylan Brown strolled through a gap out wide to score. He converted his own try for a 6-0 lead.

A penalty goal to Brown saw the Eels lead 8-0 after Manly were caught offside.

Parramatta went to a 12-0 lead after Reed Mahoney offloaded to hooker and captain Denzal Tonise to score under the posts. Brown converted for a 14-0 lead after 16 minutes.

The Sea Eagles were denied a try in the 30th minute after the NRL bunker overruled a try by the referee to centre Simisi Kioa. The bunker ruled he was held up over the line.

A minute later, the Sea Eagles opened their account when centre Tevita Funa strolled across the line for a try for a 14-4 scoreline. He failed to convert his own try.

The Eels were then denied a try under the posts to prop Oregon Kaufusi after the bunker ruled he had lost control in trying to ground the ball on the last tackle.

The Sea Eagles trailed 14-10 at half-time after winger Bilal Marbani dived on a grubber kick from half-back Cade Cust just short of the dead ball line to score with 11 seconds remaining to go. Funa converted the try.

Second Half

A nice short pass from Manly five-eighth Tom Wright saw second-rower Blake Andrews race 20 metres to score in the right corner. Funa failed to convert for a 14-all scoreline after 45 minutes.

The Sea Eagles then spent a considerable time inside the Parramatta quarter but couldn’t score after applying plenty of pressure on the Eels.

It was Parramatta who broke the deadlock next when winger Greg Leleisiuao scored out wide. The try was not converted for an 18-14 scoreline with 10 minutes remaining.

A nice pass from Manly hooker Manase Fainu put prop Keith Titmuss over for a try next to the posts for the 18-all scoreline. Funa converted after the siren for the 20-18 premiership victory.

The Grand Final marked the end of the U20s National Youth Competition after it was first introduced in 2008. Manly have the honour of winning the last ever trophy after having lost the 2015 Grand Final to Penrith.