NRL 2020: Patrick Herbert try double gives NZ Warriors gutsy victory over Manly

Winger Patrick Herbert's try double has set NZ Warriors on their first winning streak of an eventful NRL season, steering them home 26-22 over Manly Sea Eagles. 

Reduced to 12 men for 20 minutes of the contest, the displaced Auckland side had to dig deep on defence, but never trailled, as they fashioned five tries in wet, slippery conditions at Sydney's Lottoland.

The result - the Warriors' fifth win for the campaign - incredibly has them just two points outside the top-eight playoff reckoning, despite another tumultuous week that saw them veteran playmaker Blake Green leave the club and interim coach Todd Payten turn down the fulltime gig. 

Victory also confounds NRL icon Phil Gould - expected to be appointed as a Warriors consultant on Saturday - who predicted they would not win more than four games this season.

From the first kickoff, the visiting team held the advantage, dragging Manly star Dale Cherry-Evans into touch near his own goal-line on the game's opening play.

Herbert has his first try if the fifth minute, when he chased a high cross-kick from Kodi Nikorima and caught it on the volley to score. Moments later, Chanel Harris-Tavita - promoted into the starting line-up for Green - dribbled a delicate kick behind Cherry-Evans for Elie Katoa to chase and force.

When Parramatta loanee George Jennings scored his first try in Warriors colours, they were 16-0 up and a upset seemed very much on the cards.

NRL 2020: Patrick Herbert try double gives NZ Warriors gutsy victory over Manly

Momentum swung to the Sea Eagles midway through the first half, when Warriors hooker Karl Lawton was sin-binned for an early tackle on Jake Trbojevich near the try-line and during his 10-minute absence, Manly ran in tries to Tevita Funa and Moses Suli.

But Herbert's second try on halftime restored a double-figure advantage and soon after the restart, Peta Hiku corralled another grubber kick from Nikorima to extend the scoreline to 26-10.

They were again a man down, when Jack Hetherington took rival Martin Taupau with a high tackle and was also dispatched to the sideline, and Haumole Olakau'atu took toll with a try.

Patrick Herbert scores in the corner
Patrick Herbert scores in the corner. Photo credit: Photosport

Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck seemed to have iced the game with a try, after Herbert rose high to deflect Nikorima's high kick backwards on the goal-line, but replays showed the scorer was in front of the kicker and offside.

Upon his return, Hetherington dropped the ball to concede prime attacking position to Manly and winger Jorge Taufua scored to reduced the margin to four points, with 13 minutes remaining.

The Warriors had to defend Manly's desperate attempts to snatch a late win, but as the final seconds ticked down on the clock, Nikorima ran behind his own posts with the ball to celebrate.

They must now find a way to continue this unexpected run of wins against competition leaders Penrith Panthers next Friday at Central Coast Stadium.

NZ Warriors 26 (Herbert 2, Jennings, Hiku & Katoa tries; Nikorima, Harris-Tavita & Herbert conversions) Manly Sea Eagles 22 (Suli 2, Funa & Olakau'atu tries; Garrick 3 conversions)

NRL 2020: Patrick Herbert try double gives NZ Warriors gutsy victory over Manly