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Skipper Ben Hunt continued his sublime season to carry the Dragons to a 20-6 win over the Sea Eagles in a tough battle at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium on Friday night. 

Hunt was influential in the crucial clash against the Sea Eagles and scored two tries in the first half, while Talatau Amone looked at home in the No. 6 jersey as the pair helped the Dragons' continued push towards a finals return.

Already ravaged by COVID, Manly lost Ben Trbojevic (head injury) and Sean Keppie (shoulder) before half-time, and Des Hasler's side now find themselves in the middle of the dog fight on the edge of the eight. 

Signs were ominous for the Dragons early when their star fullback Cody Ramsey suffered a suspected medial ligament injury, bending underneath tacklers off a kick-return in torrential rain.

But moments later Hunt turned momentum for the home side, slipping under a Manly defender and burrowing over the line to open the scoring.

Hunt uses the baseball slide to score

Come the 17th minute Hunt did it again, chasing an Amone grubber to plant the ball down beside the uprights and register his second. 

The Dragons had a costly start to the second half when Manly prop Josh Aloiai made the home side pay for an offside penalty in their inside 20, exposing the Dragons defence and crossing the stripe for the Sea Eagles' first try of the match.

Fired up Aloiai gets Manly on the board

But in their 100th game at the venue, the Dragons put the nail in the coffin in the 79th minute of the game with a right-side raid finished off by flyer Mathew Feagai.

Match Snapshot

  • Sea Eagles forward Ben Trbojevic left the field in the 16th minute for a HIA which he failed. 
  • Manly were down to two reserves when Sean Keppie failed to return for the second half due to a shoulder injury.
  • The Dragons played their 100th game at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
  • Dragons skipper Ben Hunt has scored six tries this season.
  • Dragons prop Blake Lawrie produced a barnstorming 47-minute performance, making 205 metres from 20 hit-ups. 
  • Reuben Garrick was a shining light in a beaten side, with 199 metres from 18 runs.
  • Dylan Walker made a big defensive impact for Manly, chalking up 48 tackles.
  • The Dragons have won seven of their past nine games against the Sea Eagles.
  • The Sea Eagles have not won at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium since 2014.
  • Manly prop Martin Taupau played his 150th game for the Sea Eagles.

Play of the Game 

A pin-point grubber from Amone was collected by Hunt to score a four pointer which helped ensure his side had some comfort on the scoreboard. 

The St George Illawarra halfback was immense, scoring two tries, running 77 metres and making 13 tackles.

Hunt benefits from classy Amone kick

What They Said 

"It was always going to be a difficult night with the lead-in, but that’s certainly no excuse and obviously losing players during the game made it a little more disruptive, to an already disrupted week. But to their credit, from the toss of the coin they started well." - Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler

Sea Eagles: Round 19

“I was very confident coming in, we trained really well during the week and the feel was really good yesterday. I thought we controlled the game pretty well both sides of the ball, particularly in the second half when we had to defend them. To keep them to six in the second half, I thought it was a really solid effort. It’s a big loss when you lose your fullback, particularly Cody, he’s been one of our best. It’s disappointing for him but we’ll just keep our fingers crossed it’s hopefully an MCL and not too bad.” - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin

Dragons: Round 19

What's Next

The Dragons face a tough match next week, taking on the second-placed Cowboys on home turf. Coach Anthony Griffin will be hoping history doesn't repeat, with the Cowboys beating his side 31-12 when they last met in Round 14.

Manly will play their next two games on home turf at 4 Pines Park, starting with Roosters next Thursday. 

Coach Des Hasler will be hoping to see Andrew Davey, Lachlan Croker and Jake Trbojevic return after they were all are sidelined with COVID in Round 19. 

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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