The Sea Eagles had to settle for a draw, 16-all, after leading 16-10 in the second half in their trial match with the Warriors at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium earlier tonight.
Coach Des Hasler must be scratching his head about the value of pre-season matches like this, when already he has to contend with a serious injury to star recruit Joe Galuvao, who left the field on a stretcher in a neck brace and was taken to hospital after being knocked out cold by the Warriors’ Russell Packer halfway through the first half, while Chris Bailey also left the field injured in the second half.
George Rose seems to be living up to all the off-season hype by scoring the initial tie breaker before half-time and winger Michael Robertson has returned to form, which deserted him somewhat in 2009, with two tries for the night.
The 16-10 scoreline may have remained until the final whistle save for a late try by Jeremy Latimore so the Warriors again drew level in the last minutes of this first clash of the season for the Eagles.
Jamie Lyon converted two out of three.
Anthony Watmough worried the New Zealanders’ line throughout causing myriad of headaches for the defence.
In spite of his troubles off the field, Brett Stewart turned out in his usual fullback position.
The NZ Warriors were coached by ex-Sea Eagles star Ivan Cleary.
Warriors, Sea Eagles share spoils
Warriors 16 Sea Eagles 16
Test centre Brent Tate came through his first match in almost a year unscathed as the Warriors rounded out their NRL trial campaign in a 16-all draw with Manly on Saturday night.
A late addition to the squad, Tate played the first and last 20 minutes at North Harbour Stadium in his comeback from a second knee reconstruction in three years.
Tate's season-ending injury, suffered against former club Brisbane in round three last year, was a key factor in the Warriors' disappointing 2009 campaign and coach Ivan Cleary was thrilled to have him back.
"(It's) really good for him to tick that one off and it elevates a lot of doubt when you don't play for that long," Cleary said.
Tate said his troublesome knee came through "without any trouble at all".
The injury news wasn't so pleasing for the Sea Eagles, with new recruit Joe Galuvao in doubt for the start of the season after suffering "severe concussion" in a head clash with Russell Packer.
The former Parramatta forward was forced from the field in the first half, with coach Des Hasler confirming he was in doubt for the Sea Eagles' season opener against Wests Tigers on March 15.
"The only bad injury was Joe, he's got a severe concussion," Hasler said after the game.
"He's got at least two or three weeks out, but we won't know until we get some scans done."
Both sides enjoyed a strong pre-season hit-out in front of more than 17,362 fans, the club's second successive trial crowd over 17,000.
New recruit Jeremy Latimore scored with four minutes remaining to ensure the Warriors head into the new season on the back of an undefeated pre-season campaign.
The Sea Eagles held a 16-10 lead in the second half thanks to a try from George Rose and a double from winger Michael Robertson.
"I'm always happy to get over the line but we were scrappy today," Robertson said.
"Both teams needed the hit out before we get into the season.
"(The Warriors) are always very physical, skillful side and always one of the tougher teams to play ."
Sea Eagles star Anthony Watmough had another strong match, causing constant headaches for the Warriors' defence.
The Kiwi side crossed earlier in the game through hulking winger Manu Vatuvei and utility Joel Moon.
The Warriors open their season against the Gold Coast at Skilled Park on March 14.
Eagles and Warriors all square
Busting through ... Matt Cross of the Sea Eagles fends off Lewis Brown of the Warriors during the NRL trial match between the Warriors and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at North Harbour Stadium on February 27, 2010. Photograph: Hannah Johnston Source: The Sunday Telegraph
MANLY backrower Joe Galuvao was rushed to hospital in a neck brace as the value of trials became the major talking point after a scrappy draw with the Warriors last night.
Galuvao, who joined the Eagles from Parramatta, was knocked out midway through the opening half making his first tackle after coming off the bench.
Play was stopped for five minutes before the 31-year-old was taken to hospital for scans.
"It's just precautionary, but he was knocked out and it was a pretty
serious concussion," Manly football manager Steve Gigg said.
"He was taken to hospital and will undergo scans tonight to make sure he is OK. Hopefully he will get the all-clear and can catch the plane home with the team in the morning, but we'll just have to wait and see what the doctors say."
Both sides fielded near full-strength teams for their final outing before the season proper kicks off in a fortnight.
Manly's squad included embattled fullback Brett Stewart, co-captains Jamie Lyon and Jason King and young halves Kieran Foran and Trent Hodkinson.
Warriors centre Brent Tate made a successful return from a serious knee injury that sidelined him for most of 2009, while Wade McKinnon, Manu Vatuvei and new halfback Brett Seymour also started for the locals.
The scores were locked at 10-all until a late George Rose effort saw the visitors take a 16-10 lead into halftime.
But after pounding the line for much of the second half, the Warriors broke through when new arrival Jeremy Latimore crashed over in the dying minutes.
Manu Vatuvei and Joel Moon were the other tryscorers for the home side, while Michael Robertson scored a double for Manly.
NZ WARRIORS 16 (M Vatuvei, J Moon, J Latimore tries; B Seymour, S Johnson goals) MANLY 16 (M Robertson 2, G Rose tries; J Lyon 2 goals). Crowd: 17,262.