A controversial decision after full-time saw Manly hold on to defeat Sydney University 25-19 in their round 10 Shute Shield match at Manly Oval on Saturday.
The hosts only gained the points after a prolonged video refereeing decision ruled against a University try next to the uprights after the final bell. The Students had mounted a sustained attack on the Manly line in the closing minutes in search of a converted try.
When the ball was carried over the line, referee James Leckie referred the decision to his video assistant. After repeated viewings, the decision went against a try and the hosts, who had scored four tries to two, collected the competition points.
Manly had a dream start to the game when a spilt ball from University in their quarter resulted in the ball being quickly shifted to winger Chris Yarrington, who scored the first of a double.
The Students hit back with a brace of penalties from five-eighth Dan Kelly to grab a 6-5 lead.
But it was short-lived. Another University mistake at the scrum saw Manly capitalise through centre Peter Gilmore, who crashed over to secure a 10-6 lead. Kelly reduced the margin to 10-9 with another penalty just before half-time.
The second half saw Manly off to another dream start when they scored after two minutes – from yet another University turnover inside their quarter.
Sensing University were short on the right, the ball was quickly moved to Yarrington who scored his second for the day. The try was converted by five-eighth Ben Seymour, to give the Manly a 17-9 advantage.
The Marlins stretched the lead to 22-9 off yet another turnover. The ball was moved to the left to halfback Chris Cottee, who recently celebrated Super 15 status with the Western Force. He raced 35 metres to score. The try was unconverted, but Seymour increased the lead to 25-9 with a penalty goal.
University rediscovered their sense of discipline for the remainder of the game. Phase plays were constructed resulting in number eight Trent Dyer and inside-centre James McMahon scoring to reduced the margin to six points and a sniff of victory. But despite their efforts it wasn’t to be – the game had been lost on four earlier turnovers.
The win sealed a good day for the hosts, who also won Second Grade and First Grade Colts and forced a draw in Third Grade Colts.
The Shute Shield now goes into a bye weekend, with the competition resuming on June 18, when Sydney University will play host to Warringah.
Sydney Premier Rugby competition – Round 11
First Grade: Manly 25 (Chris Yarrington 2, Peter Gilmore, Chris Cottee tries; Ben Seymour goal, pen goal) d Sydney University 19 (Trent Dyer, James McMahon tries; Dan Kelly 3 pen goals) at Manly Oval.
Second Grade: Manly 25 (C. Raione, Eddie Aholelei, Will Matthews tries; Anthony Calavassy 2 goals, 2 pen goals) d Sydney University 10 (Tom English try; Levi Dodd goal, pen goal).
Third Grade: Sydney University 25 (Willie du Plessis, Michael Gallenetti, Cameron Lawrence tries; Jack Macklin 2 goals, 2 pen goals) d Manly 18 (Tim Collins, Epineha Cribb tries; Epineha Cribb 2 goals, 2 pen goals).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 29 (Dan Simpson, Hamish King, Callum Fryer, Jack Marples, James Cameron tries; James Cameron 2 goals) d Manly 0.
First Grade: Manly 44 (5 tries) d Sydney University 31 (4 tries).
Second Grade: Sydney University 29 (5 tries) d Manly 15.
Third Grade: Manly 7 drew with Sydney University 7.