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Manly honour Fulton with NRL win over Eels

There was no more fitting tribute for a revered Immortal than Manly’s 28-6 NRL victory over Parramatta on Sunday.

Mourning the death of Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton from cancer at the age of 74, Manly put in a performance that would have made one of their most influential figures a proud man.

The team learned about the death of the former captain and coach on the bus on the way to the ground and the emotion fuelled their passionate performance.

Down to 12 men in both halves, the Sea Eagles showed grit that was a throwback to the days when Fulton dominated the game as a centre and five-eighth in the 1960s and 1970s.

Fittingly, five-eighth Josh Schuster shone brightly.

“It’s ironic, little signs like that, rugby league is just a funny game,” said an emotional Daly Cherry-Evans after the game.

“I hope his family appreciates what happened today because we certainly had them in our thoughts.”

Schuster’s subtlety with the ball in hand tricked the Eels defence each time he ran, with the 20-year-old setting up three tries in the 22-point win.

After playing second row this season, Schuster’s last-minute switch into the halves linked him with try-scorer Tom Trbojevic and the two of them lit up Bankwest Stadium on a sad day for the club.

Fulton masterminded Manly’s never-give-in attitude and would have been thrilled with Sunday’s victory.

It was the Eels’ first loss in six games and Manly’s most important win against a genuine premiership threat this season.

“The whole rivalry between the two clubs … it’s always been there. Bob probably started it, you know,” Cherry-Evans said.

“It’s nice to come here (and win), but it’s a game of footy at the end of the day.

“I don’t ever want to compare life and death to a game of footy. But I hope our efforts symbolised what he meant to the club.”

Karl Lawton rode the spectrum of emotions in his debut for the club, scoring a try a minute after he was subbed onto the field, only to be sin-binned for a high shot on Nathan Brown soon after.

The Eels had an extra player but couldn’t stop Brad Parker scoring his double, which gave Manly a 16-6 lead to kick on with after the break.

Manly gave the Eels a sniff late in the second half when Jake Trbojevic was sin-binned for a professional foul, but the Eels couldn’t crack the defence.

“We were off the pace, they beat us on every part of the field I reckon,” said Eels coach Brad Arthur.

“We knew they had a lot of emotion in their performance and they backed it up and we didn’t.”

Cherry-Evans was put on report for a high shot on Mitch Moses, but should be free to play next week if he’s fined by the match review committee.

Should he be charged with a heavier offence it will cause headaches for Queensland selectors with Origin teams to be picked next Sunday.

Parramatta’s Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Waqa Blake will face an anxious wait too after they were both sin-binned for high shots late in the game.

Lawton and Toafofoa Sipley were also put on report, rounding off another huge weekend for the match review committee and NRL officials.

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