The Manly Sea Eagles have gone down at the hands of the Cronulla Sharks 30-14 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
The trial match saw a range of different players take to the field, with a mix of senior and fresh faces getting a run for both sides.
It was the Sea Eagles who would open the scoring when rookie halfback Cade Cust went high to the left wing to find a flying Brad Parker who rose high above his opposite number Sione Katoa to score to score his side’s first try.
Jackson Hastings was unsuccessful with the attempted conversion from the sideline and the score remained 4-0 after six minutes.
The Sea Eagles continue to pressure the home side early, forcing them into mistakes when ball came their way. Manly took the most of this opportunity and when Manase Fainu came up with the ball after a series of broken play.
Keeping the ad-lib rugby league going, Fainu kicked to Brian Kelly on the left wing, who then flicked the ball to an unmarked Parker inside to put the winger over for his second try of the evening.
Hastings’ second conversion attempt from the sideline was again unsuccessful and the score would remain 8-0 after 10 minutes of play.
From here, the balance of the game swung between the two sides with neither side able to break through for post.
It would be the Sharks who would get the advantage as Sharks winger Katoa went over in the corner after Chad Townsend floated a pass over the of Parker to go in from close range.
Matt Moylan converted the try and the score would be 8-6 to the Sea Eagles.
Pressure would begin to build on the Sea Eagles as the Sharks continued to work the ball down their right edge. The telling blow would come in the 30th minute when Frank Winterstein was sin-binned after he held on in the tackle for too long.
Two minutes later, the Sharks took advantage of some broken play on their right edge when a bullocking Jesse Ramien went in, charging over from close to the line. Moylan’s conversion was unsuccessful and the score remained 10-8 with eight minutes to play in the first half.
Both sides resumed proceedings on field however with a raft of personnel changes made, both sides look near-brand new.
The Sharks got the scoring underway in the second half as hooker James Segeyaro darted out of dummy half close to the line to take score to 14-8. Trent Hodkinson converted the easy shot at goal and the Sharks lead would go to 16-8 early in the second half.
The Sharks would extend their lead in the 59th minute when a hard-running Briton Nikora broke through the Manly left-edge defence. Hodkinson’s conversion was successful from adjacent to the uprights and the Sharks’ lead went out to 22-8.
When the 65th minute clicked over, the home side went in once more, this time after Scott Sorenson put the Sharks into good field position deep inside Manly territory. Hodkinson swept around to the short side and put in a deft grubber for Edrick Lee who got the ball down right before the dead ball line.
Hodkinson’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the score remained 26-8.
The Sea Eagles were not done yet though as they continued to pressure the Cronulla line, earning themselves repeat penalties deep inside Sharks territory. The pressure finally told when Joey Lussick took the ball out of the dummy half and found a barn-storming Lloyd Perrett who crossed over next to the uprights.
Luke Metcalf converted from next to the posts to bring the score to 26-14 with five minutes left on the clock.
As the full-time siren drew close, the Sharks would go over for the final points of the night Cruz Topai-Aveai crashing over to bring the score to 30-14. The conversion was unsuccessful and the Sharks would be victorious on the night.