It was only a matter of inches, but Manly centre Dylan Walker went from potential hero, to potential villain to actual hero.His golden-point penalty goal led the Sea Eagles to a 20-18 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium on Friday.
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Dylan Walker of the Eagles is tackled during the round eight NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Manly Sea Eagles at GIO Stadium. Photo: Mark Nolan Walker had a chance to win it in regulation time, but missed a goal after Tom Trbojevic’s try had levelled the scored at 18-all with just four minutes left.The Raiders had only themselves to blame, having relaxed twice when they looked to be in control of the game – once after Jordan Rapana scored a contender for try of the year and also when Josh Papalii scored to make it 12-2.
Raiders vs Sea Eagles in Canberra Canberra attacked the beleaguered Manly left edge right from the start, but there was no repeat of last week’s capitulation and the Green Machine had to show some patience.Manly opened the scoring, with Walker converting a penalty Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson gave away.
Canberra prop Junior Paulo looked certain to score with a barnstorming run from close rance, but somehow the Sea Eagles were able to hold the ball up.It developed into something akin to a claycourt tennis match, with both sides trading blows by ending their sets by kicking for touch – the Sea Eagles looking to take the run of Canberra’s outside backs out of the game.Walker went on report for slamming Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer into the turf in a tackle, which put a bit of feeling into the game.It also added some resolve to the Manly defence, at one stage repelling numerous repeat Raiders sets, but they could only hold out for so long.But it wasn’t from the Green Machine’s rampaging right, it came from their underrated left.A neat little Hodgson kick was perfectly weighted for his captain Jarrod Croker to run on to and score the opening try of the game.Manly prop Martin Taupau was looking dangerous in his return from suspension and the visitors were able to get some dominance on the back of his hard work, combined with Blake Green’s kicking game.When Green wasn’t kicking for touch, he’s putting deft kicks in goal behind the Raiders line and putting pressure on Canberra fullback Jack Wighton – who handled everything that was kicked at him.Even when the Green kick hit the milk-filled uprights, Wighton was up to the job, just getting his hand to the ball to prevent a Manly try just before half-time.The Sea Eagles took a perfect completion rate of 18 from 18 into the break.Anzac ceremonies led to the Viking clap get relegated to half-time and it seemed to inspire Green, who opened the second half with a 40-20 to put Manly on the attack.But it was Raiders second-rower Papalii who continues to show why both Queensland coach Kevin Walters and Australia coach Mal Meninga think so highly of him.Almost every time he gets the b…