Manly Warringah Sea Eagles finally broke through for their first win of the Telstra Premiership with a 22-12 come from behind victory over Cronulla Sharks at Brookvale Oval tonight.
In a match played in front of just 5122 due to the wet weather over the past 24 hours, the Sea overcame an early 8-0 deficit to storm home to take the two competition points.
The win also saw the Sea Eagles continue their domination over the Sharks, who have won just five first grade games at Brookvale Oval since entering the competition in 1967.
Manly have beaten the Sharks 33 times at Brookvale. The Sharks have not beaten the Sea Eagles at the ground since round one of the 2008 season.
The Sea Eagles welcomed back full-back Brett Stewart from a hamstring injury with Tom Symonds and Feleti Mateo also coming into the team.
The Sharks opened the scoring when a crossfield kick by five-eighth James Maloney was spilt by centre Steve Matai for second-rower Luke Lewis to score. Maloney converted for an 8-0 lead.
Maloney then added an extra two through a penalty goal for an 8-0 lead despite the Sea Eagles not even having had a set of six. The Sea Eagles finally saw the ball after nine minutes and having made 57 tackles, with captain and centre Jamie Lyon almost scoring in the right corner.
The Sea Eagles had a try to half-back Daly Cherry-Evans disallowed in the 23rd minute after it was ruled the ball travelled forward from Stewart.
The referee ruled no try to hooker Matt Parcell in the 25th minute after replays confirmed by the bunker showed a drop ball from a break by Dylan Walker.
A second try to Manly was disallowed four minutes later when the bunker ruled Cherry-Evans ran behind Tom Symonds before offloading a cut out pass for winger Tom Trbojevic to score.
The Sea Eagles finally got on the board in the 37th minute through a bizarre try. A pop pass by forward Siosaia Vave saw the ball taken by Luke Lewis who in being tackled by Brenton Lawrence, saw him loose control of the ball for hooker Matt Parcell to pick it up and dive under the posts. Jamie Lyon converted to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 8-6 at half-time.
Cronulla had a try disallowed on a double movement call to centre Ricky Leutele two minutes after half-time. A minute later, the Sea Eagles had a try to Martin Taupau disallowed after replays showed he failed to ground the ball from a Walker grubber kick.
The Sea Eagles were not to be denied a few minutes later when Trbojevic toed through a Stewart kick for Stewart to score. Lyon converted for a 12-8 lead after 50 minutes. It was Stewart’s 87th try in 95 games at Brookvale.
It became 16-8 when a great short pass by forward Feleti Mateo put lock Jake Trbojevic under the posts. Lyon converted for an 18-8 lead after 58 minutes.
The Sharks reduced the margin to 18-12 when winger Valentine Holmes strolled over untouched after winger Jorge Taufua rushed up to cut the pass off but missed.
The Sea Eagles went to a 22-12 in the 74th minute when Tom Trbojevic swooped on a spilt pass to race 52 metres down the Brookvale Oval hill side to slam the ball down one handed despite the tackle of Ben Barba.