Marlins live to fight another day despite disappointing loss

By Adam Lucius
What: Qualifying Final
Who: Manly v Eastwood
Where: Manly Oval
Result: Eastwood 40-34

80 minutes in 80 seconds: The big Manly crowd was left speechless watching it all unravel in the first 25 minutes. By that stage the Woodies were well on their way at 20-0 up. But two converted tries late in the half gave genuine hope of a Manly revival. Another five-pointer just after the break narrowed the gap to 20-19. But heads were back in hands nine minutes into the second half after the Marlins served up their second intercept try of the game. It gave Eastwood the impetus to kick again and they scored soon after to make it 30-19. That soon became 40-22 and all hope looked lost. Two late tries gave us a glimmer of hope but it was not meant to be.

Where it was lost: Take your pick: two intercept tries, two yellow cards, a penalty try...the list goes on and on. Discipline, composure and game management completely went out the window in the heat of the battle. Coach Melrose's words during the week fell on deaf ears. The pain in the dressing-room was palpable. But the reward for finishing minor premier is the right to fight another day.

Marlins' best: Dennis Pili-Gaitau., Adrian Hall, Josh Turner

What they said: "Congratulations to Eastwood and thanks to the crowd for continuing to make club rugby a great spectacle. The result hurt us but we could not have asked for a better game (prelim final v Rats) to redeem ourselves." – Manly hooker James Hilterbrand

Odd Spot: The local derby scorecard sits at 1-all heading into the last instalment for 2017. Interestingly, the away side has won on both occasions. Let’s hope the trend continues on Saturday

Where to from here: All to play for against Warringah at Rat Park on Saturday. Winner moves into the GF and loser starts packing for an end-of-season holiday.

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