Manly Sea Eagles prodigy Morgan Harper has stunned his former club with a “scintillating” solo try during Friday evening’s clash at ANZ Stadium.
After making his first grade debut for the Canterbury Bulldogs in round 25 late in the 2019 season, Harper played one more NRL game before he was signed by the Sea Eagles in July.
The 22-year-old scored two tries during his maiden match for Manly — an embarrassing 34-32 defeat against the Wests Tigers in round 17 — and the centre’s impressive form has continued.
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The Sea Eagles were leading by six points in the second half when Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans passed the ball out to Harper, who was 45 metres out from the Bulldogs tryline.
With four defenders in his way, Harper pushed aside the first tackle attempt before manoeuvring his way through a narrow gap in the defensive line.
The young gun then steamed past Canterbury fullback Will Hopoate to score his third NRL try in six days.
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Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane cried: “What a run! What a scintillating, spine-tingling run from Morgan Harper, as he leaves his former teammates in the dust.
“Where have you been hiding this kid? He has been superb in the last fortnight.”
Balmain Tigers great Steve Roach responded: “How good is it to see a young fellow take the line on like that with balance and poise?
“Some razzle-dazzle stuff from Harper … explosive speed for a young fella.
“He left them gasping for air, sit back and enjoy that.”
With only four NRL caps to his name, Harper is slowly cementing himself as one of the game’s most promising talents. He also finished the match with 204m, six tackle busts and two linebreaks.
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The Sea Eagles eventually secured their seventh victory of the season, winning the fixture 32-20.
Despite coming off six consecutive losses, Manly still have a slim chance of qualifying for the finals, but will require nothing short of a miracle to slide into eighth spot on the ladder.
Second-rower Matt Doorey and halfback Lachlan Lewis were the only tryscorers for the Bulldogs, who are still searching for their third win of the 2020 premiership.
Canterbury have now suffered seven consecutive losses for the first time since 2008, and remain favourites to claim the wooden spoon.
Next weekend, the Sea Eagles will take on the Gold Coast Titans at Brookvale Oval, while the Bulldogs will face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.