NRL 2021: Daly Cherry-Evans breaks Warriors hearts with last gasp field goal to claim victory

Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans has broken NZ Warriors hearts with a last-gasp field goal to help the Sea Eagles claim their first NRL victory of the season. 

Both sides came into the contest in contrasting form, with Manly winless through their 2021 campaign so far - leaking 156 points over their four games - while the Warriors were looking for their third victory of the season. 

It was an edgy affair for the contest where both sides made errors throughout and struggled on final play options. 

When it mattered most, Manly's skipper stepped up to seal his third game-winning field goal against the Warriors to seal the 13-12 victory. 

The Warriors went into this game without Addin Fonua-Blake, Peta Hiku, Euan Aitken, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Bayley Sironen, Bunty Afoa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, but there was still enough depth in this squad to think they could beat the struggling visitors.

As play kicked off,  it was confirmed Fonua-Blake was going to be out for at least four months as he’s likely to have surgery early next week to repair the extensor mechanism in his left knee.

Manly where lead by big forward Taniela Paseka was dangerous and he set up Lachlan Croker but he was held up over the line.

Paseka continued to traumatise the Warriors defence and set up Jake Trbojevic but the New South Wales forward knocked the ball on over the line when looking for the games opening try. 

Ten minutes before halftime, Manly were finally rewarded for all their pressure. 

After an error from Kane Evans - with his first touch in Warriors colours - Cherry-Evans punted the ball down field on the first tackle. This caught the Warriors off-guard and Jason Saab out sprinted Ken Maumalo to celebrate his 100th first-grade appearance with the game's first try. 

The Warriors responded two minutes later, when a great short pass from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck put Jack Murchie in a big hole. The second-row forward looked for Maumalo, but Saab knocked the ball down and it bounced kindly for the wing to level the scores at halftime.

Whatever Warriors coach Nathan Brown said at halftime seemed to work, with the Kiwi club needing just seven minutes to take the lead. 

Halfback Sean O'Sullivan showed great footwork to break through weak Manly defence to grab his first Warriors try. 

The game went set for set with both sides looking like they didn't want to win before a harsh bunker decision against the Warriors swung the game towards the visitors. 

Manly centre Morgan Harper put a grubber kick in on the final tackle that hit Maumalo. The on-field referee ruled it wasn't played at, but it was over turned by the bunker after a captains challenge.

On the next set, Cherry-Evans put in a nothing kick that looked simple to clean up, but Nikorima made a meal of it and Josh Schuster gobbled it up to level the scores. 

With four minutes remaining, O'Sullivan had a field goal attempt from 40 metres out but he sliced it wide. 

Daly Cherry-Evans kicking the match-winning field goal
Daly Cherry-Evans kicking the match-winning field goal Photo credit: Getty

With just over a minute remaining, Jack Murchie made what turned out to be a critical mistake. 

On the following set, Schuster's field goal attempt was charged down by Ben Murdoch-Masila with just 30 seconds remaining but there was still more drama to come. 

With the final play of the game, Cherry-Evans stepped back in the pocket a slotted over the one-pointer from 35 metres out to claim victory and saw his teammates storm the field in wild celebrations. 

The Warriors will have eight days to lick their wounds before they take on the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

Manly 13 (Saab, Schuster tries, Garrick 2 conversions, Cherry-Evans field goal) Warriors 12 (Maumalo, O'Sullivan tries, Nikorima 2 conversions)