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Match Report - Round 1 2004

Hasler inspires fightback

www.news.com.au,

14 Mar 2004

MANLY matched the spirit that their new coach Des Hasler used to play with to score a come-from-behind win over North Queensland in Hasler's NRL coaching debut.

Manly trailed 14-0 at halftime at Dairy Farmers Stadium but rattled in five tries to one in the second half after Hasler gave them a blast in the rooms.

New recruit Andrew Walker was instrumental in the comeback, laying on two tries and scoring another in his return to rugby league from rugby.

The game was completely transformed after halftime with Manly starting their comeback when another new signing halfback Michael Monaghan and Walker put former Cowboy Scott Donald over in the right corner in the 44th minute.

Dual international Walker was again the creator eight minutes later when his vision near the line spotted Paul Stephenson in a gap.

The centre was shut down by two Cowboys defenders but he managed to flick a ball out the back for Sam Harris to score to close the gap to 14-8.

The Sea Eagles were level five minutes later when Stephenson capped a three-try blast by barging over from dummy half.

Chris Hicks kicked his first conversion to make it 14-all.

The Sea Eagles finally took the lead when Jye Mullane put Walker over from close range.

With 17 minutes remaining, only poor goal kicking by Hicks, who hit the posts with his conversion, kept the Cowboys in the game at 18-14.

Things went from bad to worse for the Cowboys when second-rower Michael Luck was put on report for a high tackle on Daniel Heckenberg with a try-saving effort under his own posts.

Hicks hit the penalty from in front to increase Manly's lead to six points.

Mullane made sure of Hasler's first two competition points when he strolled through feeble defence seven minutes from fulltime, boosting the score to 24 from 14.

Cowboys captain Paul Bowman scored with two minutes on the clock but his side could get no closer than 24-20.

It was disappointing for the Cowboys who had looked good in the first half with tries to Ty Williams and Chris Sheppard to open up a healthy halftime advantage.

The Cowboys will also have to wait on the judiciary after prop Paul Rauhihi was put on report in the first half for raising his knee in a dangerous manner during a scrum.

MANLY 24
(S Donald P Stephenson A Walker S Harris J Mullane tries C Hicks 2 goals) bt

NORTH QUEENSLAND 20
(T Williams C Sheppard P Bowman tries J Hannay 4 goals)

at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

13 March 2004, 9.30pm

Referee: T Archer.

Crowd: 17,952.
.

TEAM:

1 - Andrew WALKER
2 - Scott DONALD
3 - Luke WILLIAMSON
4 - Paul STEPHENSON
5 - Chris HICKS
6 - Jye MULLANE
7 - Michael MONAGHAN
8 - Daniel HECKENBERG
9 - Nathan HOLLINGSWORTH
10- Ian DONNELLY
11- Sam HARRIS
12- Solomon HAUMONO
13- Steve MENZIES

14- John HOPOATE
15- Kylie LEULUAI
16- Anthony WATMOUGH
17- Shane DUNLEY