Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 20-12 loss to Cronulla Sutherland Sharks in round 11 of the Telstra Premiership tonight.
The Sea Eagles were boosted by the return of full-back Brett Stewart but lost centre Steve Matai (neck). Tom Trbojevic moved from full-back to centre.
The Sharks opened the scoring at Southern Cross Group Stadium in the ninth minute when winger Sosaia Feki finished off a backline play to score in the left corner. Five-eighth James Maloney converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.
A penalty goal to Maloney saw the Sharks lead 8-0 before they stretched their lead to 12-0 when the ball was spread right through several hands for winger Valentine Holmes to score in the right corner in the 30th minute.
The Sea Eagles opened their account a minute before half-time when a good short ball by second-rower Lewis Brown put centre Tom Trbojevic over for a try. Captain Jamie Lyon failed to convert for a 12-4 scoreline at half-time.
Manly started the second half off on the right foot when a grubber kick by Daly Cherry-Evans saw lock Jamie Buhrer score a try in his return to the NRL from a broken thumb. Lyon failed to convert the try to leave the Sea Eales trailing 12-8 after 47 minutes.
A great cut out pass by Stewart saw winger Brayden Wiliame dive over in the left corner to tie it up at 12-all after 54 minutes. Lyon failed to convert the try.
Maloney put the Sharks back in front at 14-12 through a penalty goal in the 66th minute.
The Sharks extended their lead to 18-12 when Barba sliced through a gap to score in the 72nd minute. Maloney converted for a 20-12 lead.
Cronulla’s win was their first against Manly since 2012 and saw them collect the Steve Rogers Memorial Trophy.
The loss leaves Manly on eight points heading into the bye next weekend.