Sivo brain snap leaves Arthur shaking his head as Parra throw away big lead to lose AGAIN


Brad Arthur must wonder what he has to say to his team anymore.

With his job under huge pressure, his Parramatta side managed to get themselves into a comfortable lead at half time, then throw it away, get themselves into a position to win it again, then set fire to their ambitions in an epic collapse.

Maika Sivo, only just returned to the side at all, had one of the all time brain explosions, smashing a prone Reuben Garrick after a tackle had been completed, mere seconds after his side had been returned to a full complement following a previous sin bin.

All that good work, gone in a second. It was 20-18 to Manly at that point and would end 34-18.

Sivo himself was this side in microcosm: he had scored a hat trick of tries, all excellent finishes, but then totally undermined all that work by losing the run of himself.

Parramatta were clearly stung by last week’s comments about being a part-time footy side, by which Arthur meant that they stopped competing for long periods rather than playing the whole match.

There could be no doubt tonight that they didn’t give up tonight.

From hat trick hero to finishing the match in the sin bin. Maika Sivo has had an ‘absolute brain explosion.’

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The Eels saw an impressive debut from Ethan Sanders and another gutsy effort from Clint Gutherson – there has been no suggestion that he gives anything other than everything.

Both meetings between these two have been quality affairs, with both defined by highly contrasting styles.

Manly shifted from their very first play of the game and constantly tried to move the big Parra pack around, which was contrasted by a middle dominance from the Eels, who utilised all their second phase ability to roll up the field, then shred Manly’s still vulnerable edges.

In the end, the difference might have been as simple as discipline. In the first half, Manly’s was awful, but in the second, Parra’s was worse.

Haumole Olakau’atu was binned for a dangerous throw in the first half and might have a case to answer this week, but Manly survived it only with a penalty goal against.

Penisini was sat down in the second half and Parra did even better, keeping Manly to nothing and scoring themselves, only for Sivo’s brain explosion to gift the Sea Eagles an extra man for the close.

They would concede two tries late down that edge.

Haumole Olakau’atu was put on report and sent to the sin bin for this dangerous tackle on Shaun Lane.

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Anthony Seibold will be happy to have avenged their earlier defeat to the Eels, but must still hold concerns about their defence, which was awful at times.

The first half was very strange indeed. Manly were getting killed by penalties, Parra by their own errors.

Manly made more errors in the early stages, but each of them was done in the pursuit of something, whereas Parramatta were coughing up the ball in simple situations. Seibold asks his side to promote the footy, and would have been impressed with how they did it even with 12 men in the first half.

Manly had made most of the running, averaging almost ten meters more in their exit sets and asking Parra, at least on the occasions they didn’t get penalties, to kick from deep.

The intensity was huge.

Gerard Sutton had to separate players on multiple occasions and there were shots everywhere, not least between former teammates Luke Brooks and Ryan Matterson, who were tackling each other with real spite.

Yet it was the Eels who had six line breaks to zero – even accounting for Manly’s try, off a superb Brooks kick – and led at the interval.

Maika Sivo has a hat trick ????

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Manly’s issues with pressure control were very much at the fore. All three tries were late in the set, exposing edge defences that could have done a lot better when faced with less than complex shapes.

Had Bailey Simonsson kept his head better with the final play of the first half, it might have been game over.

So what changed?

Gutherson’s goalkicking didn’t help, because three misses from three conversion attempts gave an achievable target, but beyone that, it wasn’t actually that different in the run of play, save that Manly finally made incursions.

They threw attacks that finally got results, with Sivo’s defence suspect for one and then a collapse in the middle for another.

Manly make the most of their numerical advantage and extend the margin to 8 ????

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— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 26, 2024

Nathan Brown’s intensity helped, with another kamikaze kickoff return and then some of the softest hands you’ll see to get Jake Trbojevic through for Daly Cherry-Evans’ score.

Manly went from zero breaks in 40 minutes to five in 20, but hadn’t particularly changed how they went about it. Parra dropped off badly and made some bad misses, but they were also under constant pressure from the side with the ball.

When the plan is to throw all attack all the time, with few dead plays at all, it’s very hard to defend consistently for 80 minutes. The Sea Eagles’ defence is still miles off, but the potential for points, and quick points at that, that they have might be more than any other side in the NRL.

By the end, the line break count was 7-6 to Manly, with Parra not breaching their defence at all after the resumption.

The big count, however, might be the sin bins. At 1-1, it was on a knife edge. Then, Sivo blew it all up.

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