Melbourne’s U20 Thunderbolts have been defeated 14-24 at Pittwater Park after a strong second half performance from the U20 Sea Eagles.
One second half try was not enough for the Thunderbolts as hosts controlled momentum and opened up a healthy advantage thanks to three unanswered four pointers.
The Thunderbolts were immediately on the back foot, conceding points in the fourth minute of play.
Defending for multiple sets during the early stages, Eric Smith’s side were able to weather the storm and make the most of some field position when they got into their own attacking third.
Scott Drinkwater’s cut out ball allowed Cory Parker to sidestep on the right wing and give the visitors the lead during the opening stanza.
Errors plagued both sides in the first 40 minutes with both the Thunderbolts and Sea Eagles wasting possession in attack. An Alfred Smalley try handed the hosts the ascendency before the young Storm outfit hit back on the stroke of the break through a raid down the left finished off by Harlan Collins.
Taking the advantage into the sheds at half-time, Melbourne conceded back-to-back tries to start the second half leaving themselves with plenty of work to do to overturn a 10-point deficit.
When Bilal Maarbani scored his second try for the afternoon with just eight minutes left on the clock, the Thunderbolts were resigned to their third consecutive defeat.
Storm’s U20s will face the Warriors in Round 8 on the Sunshine Coast.
Melbourne Storm 14
Tries: Cory Parker, Harlan Collins, Sale Finau
Goals: Jesse Arthars 1/3
Manly Sea Eagles 24
Tries: Bilal Maarbani 2, Alfred Smalley, Amoni Tuifui, Josh Martin
Goals: Bilal Maarbani 2/4