NRL Round 9 – Match 1 Results: Manly Sea Eagles 24 v St George Illawarra Dragons 6

The opening NRL premiership game of Round 9 took place on Saturday at Brookvale Oval and was the start of the underdogs’ winning streak over the weekend as the favourites, the Dragons, went down in a shock loss to the Sea Eagles in front of a 16,700 strong crowd.

Manly have now crept up to number three on the NRL ladder, just two competition points away from the Dragons and the Titans.

Unbeaten in their last four starts, St George still sit in the number one spot but only just as the Titans win over the weekend has seen them amass an equal 14 competition points.

The Dragons started the match as the hot favourites, but felt the pressure as two of their star players originally named in the side, big prop Michael Weyman who had his rep debut and winger Jason Nightingale who scored for the Kiwis, failed to play following minor injuries sustained in the test match on Friday.

The Sea Eagles however backed up beautifully from the night before, when eight of their squad had representative duties, in their four-tries-to-one victory ahead of the Premiership favourites, their win headlined by a hat-trick by winger Tony Williams.

Williams began Manly’s big victory with a double in the first quarter, getting over the line in the 9th and then the 17th minute.

Skipper and goal-kicker Jamie Lyon, who was one of the stars in Australia’s win against the Kiwis on Friday night, converted one from two and the home team had an early 10 point lead.

The Dragons didn’t score until the 31st minute when Trent Merrin got down their sole four-pointer of the match and Jamie Soward’s kick saw them end up with six points.

In the second half the Sea Eagles had complete control of the game and managed to score another two converted tries, one to Ben Farrar seven minutes back from the break and then Williams completed his hat trick in the 55th minute.

Lyon’s kicked both, showing no weariness from his big match 24 hours earlier. Then to add a final two points of gloss to the score he finished off with a penalty kick in the final minute of the match so the Sea Eagles came away with a 24 – 6 upset.

Manly’s second half performance was even more impressive considering they lost five-eighth Kieran Foran, who had played for New Zealand on Friday, to a hamstring injury.

The score may have gone the other way as twice did the Dragons get over the line only to have officials controversially decide they were no tries.

But as it stands St George Illawarra have now lost two of their matches this year, the only other team to beat them being the Melbourne Storm who are now out of contention for the Premiership.