A great effort from his young men and no major injuries saw Manly Warringah Coach Trent Barrett walk away from Shark Park tonight a very happy man.
“I thought for what was essentially a second string side out there, the boys were outstanding. They gave their all against a Sharks side that had plenty of NRL talent,’’ Barrett said following the 24-all draw with Cronulla in the NRL trial.
Of the players who took the field for the Sea Eagles, only Jorge Taufua, Tom Symonds, Blake Leary, Darcy Lussick and Nathan Green saw regular NRL time last season with their respective clubs last season.
Sea Eagles prop Brenton Lawrence also got through his first NRL game after missing the majority of last season with a back injury while new recruit Tim Moltzen also got through the game well after missing a lot of first grade in 2015.
The Sea Eagles opened the scoring with an intercept try to winger Fabian Goodall who scored untouched. Hooker Hugh Pratt’s attempt hit the upright for a 4-0 scoreline after three minutes.
The Sharks bombed a try two minutes later when winger Valentine Holmes dropped the ball with the line open after Manly centre Tony Satini rushed up out of the line and missed his man.
Cronulla took a 6-4 lead after five-eighth James Maloney converted a try to prop Sam Tagataese from next to the posts.
Manly Warringah hit back when a beautiful pass from Tom Symonds put full-back Brayden Wiliame in open space before throwing a dummy to score. Hooker Hugh Pratt converted for a 10-6 lead after 22 minutes.
A missed tackle by back-rower Dylan Kelly saw Sharks full-back Jack Bird back up a break to score. Maloney converted for a 12-10 lead after 37 minutes.
The Sharks extended their lead to 16-10 a minute before half-time when the Sea Eagles were found short on their left side for centre Kurt Capewell to slam the ball down with one hand to score. Maloney converted for an 18-10 lead at half-time.
The Sea Eagles kept working hard in the opening 20 minutes of the second half and were rewarded with a try from dummy half to Daniel Vasek. Pratt converted to leave Manly trailing 18-16 with 19 minutes remaining.
Manly Warringah took the lead when winger Halauafu Lavaka scored in the right corner with 10 minutes remaining to give the Sea Eagles a 20-16 lead.
Holmes put the Sharks ahead with a try in the 76th minute under the posts for a 22-20 lead. He converted his own for a 24-20 lead with many Cronulla supporters thinking they were home.
That was until Lavaka finished off a backline play to score in the 78th minute to level the scores at 24-all.
The Sea Eagles will now finish their pre-season at Pittwater Park next Saturday, February 20, at 6pm,, when they take on Ipswich Jets. Three games will be played from 2pm.
Manly Sea Eagles team
1 BRAYDEN WILIAME 2 FABIAN GOODALL 3 TONY SATINI 4 JORGE TAUFUA 5 HALAUAFU LAVAKA 6 TIM MOLTZEN 7 NICHO HYNES 8 BRENTON LAWRENCE 9 HUGH PRATT 10 DARCY LUSSICK 11 NATHAN GREEN 12 TOM SYMONDS 13 BLAKE LEARY 14 PITA GODINET 15 DYLAN KELLY 16 LIAM KNIGHT 17 TODD WILSON 18 19 PETER SHUSTER 20 RYHS ARMSTRONG 21 JESSE RAMIEN 22 JAMES TUITAHI 23 DANIEL VASEK 24 BEN FRITZ
1 JACK BIRD 2 SOSAIA FEKI 3 KURT CAPEWELL 4 RICKY LEUTELE 5 VALENTINE HOMES 6 JAMES MALONEY 7 CHAD TOWNSEND 8 MATT PRIOR 9 FA’AMANU BROWN 10 SAM TAGATAESE 11 LUKE LEWIS 12 JAYSON BUKUYA 13 CHRIS HEIGHINGTON 14 JOSEPH PAULO 15 JESSE SENE-LEFAO 16 MITCH BROWN 17 JOSH CLEELAND 18 MATT MCILWRICK 19 JORDAN DREW 20 ANTHONY MORAITIS 21 JUNIOR ROQICA 22 MALAKAI HOUMA 23 MATT EVANS 24 LEVI SOPI 25 ARANA TUAMATA 26 KURT KARA