Manly Warringah Sea Eagles returned to the winners circle tonight after an impressive 28-16 win over the Cronulla Sharks at Brookvale Oval.
A crowd of 14,881 saw the home side lead from start to finish to record a vital win and move into 14th place subject to tomorrow night’s match between Wests Tigers and Parramatta.
The Sea Eagles opened the scoring in the 7th minute when full-back Brett Stewart summed up the play well with a lovely cut out pass. Captain Jamie Lyon – in his first game back from a hamstring injury, failed to convert the try for a 4-0 scoreline.
The game then became an arm wrestle and it took a peculiar event to get the next score.
Taufua attempted tap back of a Daly Cherry-Evans kick that was regathered by the winger who fell over the line to grab his second after a successful video ruling.
Lyon was successful with his conversion to give Manly a 10-0 lead after 17 minutes.
Jayden Hodges burrowed his way over but was the young hooker was unable to ground the football. The video referee then ruled that Hodges had knocked the ball on and the follow up grounding from Cherry-Evans was ruled no try.
The Sharks got their first points through Sosaia Feki who dived into the corner. Michael Gordon was unable to convert a try for a 10-4 scoreline at half-time.
The Sea Eagles came out in the second half ready to play and they got themselves a try through Steve Matai after Taufua picked up a Brett Stewart kick before showing skilful hands to pass it back inside to his centre.
Lyon added the extras and Manly led 16-4 with seven minutes gone after halftime.
Manly moved further ahead in the 54th minute thanks to a try from Cherry-Evans. Ben Barba’s error on the halfway line allowed Manly to break down the field, which gave them the building blocks for their 4th try of the game through Cherry-Evans. Lyon again made no mistake with the boot to give the Sea Eagles a 22-4 lead.
The Sharks hit back in the 71st minute through a try to prop Andrew Fifita. Gordon converted to leave the Sharks trailing 22-10.
Taufua went over in for his third try of the game after a brilliant backline move played him in. Lyon put the icing on the cake with excellent conversion from out wide to give Manly a 28-10 with five minutes to go.
There was a small consolation for the Sharks when Andrew Fifita crossed for his double with only seconds remaining. Gordon converted for the 28-16 scoreline.