Manly Warringah Sea Eagles recorded a 28-16 victory over Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NRL Elimination Final at Lottoland tonight.
The Sea Eagles hosted the final after finishing the regular season in sixth place with the Sharks in seventh place.
In the first home final at Lottoland for Manly since 2008, the Sea Eagles went into the match missing the suspended Martin Taupau (one week) and the injured Tom Trbojevic, Joel Thompson, Curtis Sironen, Taniela Paseka, and Martin Boyle.
Promising second-rower Haumole Olakau'atu made his NRL debut for the Sea Eagles
in front of a crowd of 15, 495 - the biggest home crowd this season for Manly, the Sea Eagles opened the scoring in the eighth minute after hooker Api Koroisau darted over from dummy half under the posts after a quick play the ball by prop Addin Fonua-Blake. Winger Reuben Garrick converted for a 6-0 lead.
Manly went to a 10-0 lead two minutes later when centre Moses Suli finished off a nice backline play to score out wide. Garrick converted for a 12-0 lead after 12 minutes.
A short grubber kick on the last tackle by half-back Daly Cherry-Evans saw centre Brad Parker put some downward pressure on the ball to score just before the dead ball line. Garrick converted from the sideline for an 18-0 lead after 19 minutes.
The Sharks hit back in the 25th minute with a try to centre Bronson Xerri out wide after the video referee overruled the referee decision of no try on an obstruction call. Five-eighth Shaun Johnson failed to convert the try from the sideline for an 18-4 scoreline after 27 minutes.
Half-time Sea Eagles 18 Sharks 4
The Sharks scored their second try in the 46th minute when winger Aaron Gray crashed over in the right corner for an 18-8 scoreline. Johnson converted from the sideline for an 18-10 scoreline after 47 minutes.
A barnstorming run by prop Addin Fonua-Blake saw the prop crash over next to the posts for a try in the 51st minute. Garrick converted the try for a 24-10 lead.
Olakau'atu then had a try disallowed under the posts on an obstruction call.
The Sea Eagles went to a 28-10 lead when Elliot scored off an inside pass from Jack Gosiewski. Garrick failed to convert the try with six minutes remaining.
The Sharks scored a late consolation try to Josh Morris for a 28-16 scoreline. Johnson converted the try.
The Sea Eagles have now won 34 of 40 matches against Cronulla on their home ground.
Manly will now play South Sydney at ANZ Stadium next weekend in an Elimination Semi-final.