Sea Eagles can't reel in runaway Sharks
Friday 8 February 2013 10:01 PM
There's plenty to work on after the Sea Eagles' 24-12 loss to the Sharks at Brookvale but head coach Geoff Toovey saw plenty of promise in their first trial of the year.
Despite a strong second half from Manly's senior squad, the home side were unable to reel in the Sharks' 24-4 lead.
However Toovey's taking plenty of positives out of the match, particularly the lack of injuries - despite a scare to Daly Cherry-Evans, who copped a corked thigh.
The Sharks were on the front foot early, with only an outstanding tackle from new Kiwi recruit Peta Hiku stopping Tyrone Peachey from grounding the ball over the line.
But Manly couldn't hold out an 80m Shark attack off Nathan Gardner's quick tap. Leutele was there to finish and put the first points on the board for the Sharks.
Two quick tries followed from Tupou Sopoaga and Tyrone Peachey, with some flimsy Manly showing there's a bit of rust remaining after a long break.
Dean McGlinchy showed good strength to crash over for the Sea Eagles in their first real venture into Sharks territory.
But Manly were soon back on their on line, with only another impressive defensive effort from Peta Hiku that denied Daniel Moroko in the corner.
Manly looked a little shaken, down 16-4 at the 20 minute drinks break. Several changes sturdied the Sea Eagles' defence, with big new recruits Brenton Lawrence and Richie Fa'aoso providing plenty of muscle in the middle.
Kayne Lawton and Dane Chisholm sparked the attack a little, pushing the play down the field but the Sea Eagles came up empty after several raids.
A momentary loss of memory saw Lawrence penalised for a shoulder charge as Garnder completed a kick, marching the Sharks up the field. The Sea Eagles were soon stretched and Junior Roqica capitalised in the left corner.
A spill from fresh Sea Eagles signing Jason Seage almost resulted in another long range try for the Sharks but Chisholm showed great pace to chase down Stewart Mills and keep the score at 20-4 heading into the halftime break.
The senior squad made their first appearance in the second half, but it wasn't a great start, as they let the ball go dead from the kick off.
Beau Ryan put the boot in with a try in the corner off Chad Townsend's cross field kick, which seemed to spur the Sea Eagles into action.
A trademark break from Brett Stewart saw Jamie Buhrer cruise in under the posts for Manly and when Dane Chisholm pushed through an ugly grubber for Jacob Gagan to score, the Sea Eagles looked like they were on the road to a comeback.
But time wasn't on the Sea Eagles' side and despite a few forays towards the Sharks' line in the final minutes, the Sharks were still 24-12 up as the hooter sounded.
It wasn't an ideal start for the Sea Eagles but with so many new faces and a high rotation of players throughout the match, Toovey was expecting errors.
The focus is now on ironing out the creases and rolling on towards the Roosters.