The tag of underdogs will again sit comfortably with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles ahead of their Holden Cup semi-final against premiership favourites Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.

The Sharks won 19 of 24 matches to finish the regular season as minor premiers. They scored 920 points to finish with the best attacking record. They also had the best defensive record of the top eight teams.

All that meant very little to the fourth-placed Parramatta who upset the Sharks 35-22 to leave Cronulla facing a Manly team that recorded its own superb win against the odds.

The eighth-placed Sea Eagles beat the fifth-placed Nth Qld Cowboys 30-16 in the elimination final at Allianz Stadium last Sunday and did so without inspirational captain and lock Jesse Martin (suspension) and towering prop Taniela Paseka with a knee injury. Both will again miss this weekend.

Manly props Jaiden Tarrant and Elia Faatui ran over 100 metres each and were dominant up front to lay the platform for a Sea Eagles with plenty of strike power itself. Manly had the second best attacking record after 26 rounds but finished seventh in defence.

Sea Eagles Coach Wayne Lambkin said the pressure was firmly on the Sharks ahead of the sudden-death clash at ANZ Stadium. Cronulla have lost their last three matches.

The two teams met in round 16 with the Sharks holding off a fast finishing Sea Eagles to win 34-30.

“Cronulla are a good footy side and have certainly got some speed and some big men, but the pressure will be on them as favourites,’’ Lambkin said.

“We learnt from our game against them that we can compete with the best. We were down 18-0 after 13 minutes and won the rest of the game quite convincingly.”

Lambkin said his players must be ready for the early onslaught from Cronulla.

“They are strong in the first 20 minutes. They come out like it is a training session and go through all their plays,’’ he said.

“If we can stop that, it might make them sit back and think a little bit. We need to be on our toes and full of energy in that first 20 minutes. To just make those efforts to stop the plays they are throwing at you.

“Last week there was a period of 20 minutes there where then was no scoring and the game flattened out a little bit. Parramatta worked it out and went through the middle of them in the second half.

“It is a big task but one that is not beyond us.”

Sea Eagles supporters should keep a close eye on boom Cronulla five-eighth Luke Metcalf, who will join Manly next season on a three year deal. A smart, organising half-back with exceptional speed, Metcalf has represented NSW at U16 and U18 Origin levels.

Holden Cup Semi-Final

Manly v Cronulla, ANZ Stadium

Saturday, September 16

Kick-off 5pm

 

 

The Sharks won 19 of 24 matches to finish the regular season as minor premiers. They scored 920 points to finish with the best attacking record. They also had the best defensive record of the top eight teams.

 

All that meant very little to the fourth-placed Parramatta who upset the Sharks 35-22 to leave Cronulla facing a Manly team that recorded its own superb win against the odds.

 

The eighth-placed Sea Eagles beat the fifth-placed Nth Qld Cowboys 30-16 in the elimination final at Allianz Stadium last Sunday and did so without inspirational captain and lock Jesse Martin (suspension) and towering prop Taniela Paseka with a knee injury. Both will again miss this weekend.

Manly props Jaiden Tarrant and Elia Faatui ran over 100 metres each and were dominant up front to lay the platform for a Sea Eagles with plenty of strike power itself. Manly had the second best attacking record after 26 rounds but finished seventh in defence.

Sea Eagles Coach Wayne Lambkin said the pressure was firmly on the Sharks ahead of the sudden-death clash at ANZ Stadium.

The two teams met in round 16 with the Sharks holding off a fast finishing Sea Eagles to win 34-30.

 

“Cronulla are a good footy side and have certainly got some speed and some big men, but the pressure will be on them as favourites,’’ Lambkin said.

 

“We learnt from our game against them that we can compete with the best. We were down 18-0 after 13 minutes and won the rest of the game quite convincingly.”

 

Lambkin said his players must be ready for the early onslaught from Cronulla.

 

“They are strong in the first 20 minutes. They come out like it is a training session and go through all their plays,’’ he said.

 

“If we can stop that, it might make them sit back and think a little bit. We need to be on our toes and full of energy in that first 20 minutes. To just make those efforts to stop the plays they are throwing at you.

 

“Last week there was a period of 20 minutes there where then was no scoring and the game flattened out a little bit. Parramatta worked it out and went through the middle of them in the second half.

 

“It is a big task but one that is not beyond us.”

 

Sea Eagles supporters should keep a close eye on boom Cronulla five-eighth Luke Metcalf, who will join Manly next season on a three year deal. A smart, organising half-back with exceptional speed, Metcalf has represented NSW at U16 and U18 Origin levels.

 

Holden Cup Semi-Final

Manly v Cronulla, ANZ Stadium

Saturday, September 16

Kick-off 5pm