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Scott Bailey

Late drama as Manly and Warriors battle to stalemate

The Warriors rallied from 16-0 down to earn a hard-fought golden-point draw at home to Manly. (Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS)

Manly coach Anthony Seibold has refused to weigh in on a dramatic post-siren penalty that helped the Warriors escape with a 22-22 golden-point draw in Auckland.

With Manly leading 22-14 and 55 seconds left in regulation time, Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak scored and Shaun Johnson nailed a sideline conversion to lower the gap to two.

Then with three seconds left, Manly prop Josh Aloiai collected Johnson's outstretched leg after the Warriors half attempted a two-point field goal.

The shot fell short, but referee Chris Butler sent the play upstairs before the bunker declared Aloiai had made dangerous contact on Johnson as he ran in from the side.

The subsequent penalty goal sent the match to golden point, with the Warriors missing two great chances to claim victory.

The draw is only the sixth in the last decade, and left both teams with three wins and two losses.

"It's probably something I don't want to make comment on," Seibold said afterwards. 

"Because if I say it shouldn't have been a penalty I'll be called a whinger. 

"If I say it should have been a penalty then potentially I'm not looking after the players in my group. 

"It was adjudicated a penalty and we get on with it."

Daly Cherry-Evans indicated he could understand the decision given the protection for kickers, while Warriors coach Andrew Webster suggested it was an obvious penalty.

"It's definitely the right call," Webster said. 

"It's unfortunate. I don't think Josh meant it. He's trying to charge the ball down.

"He's going for a field goal and Josh has to do that. He's got to go for the ball. 

"It's unfortunate what happened, but it's fortunate for us."

Regardless, both sides will feel they should have walked away with all the points in a gripping high-tempo encounter.

After Manly led 16-0 inside 27 minutes, the Warriors scored twice shortly before halftime to go in at the break trailing 16-10.

The hosts dominated second-half field position as their middles ran amok and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad totalled 337 running metres at the back.

But the Warriors were unable to draw level until the death, and then fluffed two chances to win it in golden point with the better field position.

The first came when Tohu Harris dropped a ball on the attack, before a 30-metre field-goal shot from Johnson went well wide in the second half of extra time.

Cherry-Evans also had two long-distance chances for Manly that fell well short, as Manly struggled to get out of their own end.

The draw came at a cost, with Manly losing Toff Sipley (knee) and Ben Trbojevic (hamstring), while Warriors prop Jazz Tevaga (hamstring) finished on crutches.

Some 13 years after they met in a grand final as rookies, Cherry-Evans looked likely to outgun his old rival Johnson for the first 79 minutes of the match.

He scored the first two tries, putting himself in the right place after an offload from Tom Trbojevic went to ground and collecting a Tommy Talau kick after a break.

The Warriors got back to 16-12 courtesy of two tries in four minutes before halftime.

It was then Cherry-Evans who put Manly on the front foot again, sending Ben Trbojevic over after halftime to make it 22-12.

But a piece of Johnson magic kept the Warriors in touch, when he stepped Tom Trbojevic from 40 metres out to score and make it 22-14 before the late drama.

He then stood in a tackle and threw the last pass for Waetene-Zelezniak's late try to set up the grandstand finish.

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