A gallant Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 34-30 loss to Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium today in round 16 of the Holden Cup competition.
Fresh from a 15 try haul in the previous week’s 84-6 victory over Wests Tigers, the second placed Sharks started the game strongly to take a 10 point lead into half-time before a late rally in the second half by Manly.
It was the Sharks’ eighth consecutive victory since recording a draw in round seven. The loss leaves Manly in sixth place on 18 competition points.
Cronulla opened the scoring with a converted try after half-back Kyle Flanagan picked up a loose ball to score. He converted his own try from in front for a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
The home side jumped to a 10-0 lead when prop Ryan King crashed through several defenders to score. Flanagan converted for a 12-0 lead after 12 minutes.
A break from winger Sione Kata sent Flanagan over under the posts for his second try. The half-back converted for an 18-0 lead before Manly opened their account when hard-working captain Jesse Martin ran a good line to score. Winger Jade Anderson failed to convert the try to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 18-8 after 25 minutes.
Six minutes later, some clever footwork by full-back Luke Polselli saw the Sea Eagles grab their second try. Anderson’s conversion hit the upright for an 18-12 scoreline after 32 minutes.
A grubber kick in the 39th minute by Cronulla full-back William Kennedy saw Katoa score for a 22-12 lead at half-time after Flanagan missed his first conversion attempt of the match.
It was a good fight back from the young Sea Eagles after letting in three early tries.
The Sea Eagles started the second half off on the perfect note when a brilliant bomb by five-eighth Tom Wright for hooker Manase Fainu to score. Anderson converted his first goal of the game to leave Manly trailing 22-18 after 46 minutes.
Cronulla hit back five minutes later when centre Isaac Lumelume crossed. Flanagan converted for a 28-18 lead to the home side.
A nice show and go from dummy half by Fainu saw him dive over. Anderson converted to leave Manly trailing 28-24 with 17 minutes remaining.
Some tough calls against the Sea Eagles gave the Sharks quality field position to allow hooker Blayke Brailey to score. Flanagan converted for a 34-24 lead after 75 minutes.
Four minutes later, Manase scored under the post. Anderson converted for a 34-30 scoreline.
Wright made a break inside the final minute for Manly before being pulled down with the Sharks claiming the two points.
Sea Eagles Holden Cup team
1 Luke Polselli, 2 Jade Anderson, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Blake Andrews, 5 Alfred Smalley, 6 Tom Wright, 7 Cade Cust, 8 Jaiden Tarrant, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Taniela Paseka, 14 Haumole Olakauátu, 12 Josh Martin, 13 Jesse Martin (C); Interchange: 15 Elia Faatui, 16 Zaan Weatherall, 17 John Tuivati, 18 Kaine McQuiggin. Coach: Wayne Lambkin