Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a very disappointing 40-22 loss to the Cronulla Sharks at Central Coast Stadium tonight in round seven of the Telstra Premiership.
Seven days after recording one of their most courageous wins in recent years, the Sea Eagles offered little in attack with their strong defensive displays of recent weeks non-existent.
The Sea Eagles may have went into the match without key strike weapons in full-back Tom Trbojevic and five-eighth Dylan Walker through injury but they welcomed back experienced campaigners in Jorge Taufua and Martin Taupau from injury.
Taupau started the match off the interchange bench with rising young prop Sean Keppie starting for the second week.
Coach Des Hasler also shifted Reuben Garrick from wing to full-back, Tevita Funa from centre to wing, and Brendan Elliot from full-back to centre.
The Sharks opened the scoring when forward Braden Hamlin- Uele crossed next to the posts. Shaun Johnson converted for a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Taufua got the Sea Eagles on the board four minutes later when he finished off a nice backline play to score in the left corner. Garrick failed to convert the try for a 6-4 scoreline.
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Sharks
Garrick then landed a penalty goal from in front of the posts for a 6-all scoreline after 26 minutes.
The Sharks went to a 10-6 lead in the 31st minute after winger Sione Katao planted the ball down from Johnson grubber kick. Johnson converted for a 12-6 lead.
Cronulla extended their lead to 16-6 two minutes from half-time when Matt Moylan put centre Jesse Ramien into a hole to score near the posts. Johnson converted for an 18-6 lead.
The Sharks started the second half off strongly when Josh Dugan scored from a grubber kick a minute after half-time. Johnson converted for a 24-6 lead.
Winger Bryson Goodwin made it 28-6 when he burrowed his way over the line in the 49th minute. Johnson failed to convert the try from the sideline.
Katoa grabbed his second try four minutes later when he dived over in the right corner to finish off a backline raid for a 32-6 lead. Johnson converted for a 34-6 lead.
The Sea Eagles got back to 34-12 when prop Addin Fonua-Blake backed up a break by Jake Trbojevic to score in the 60th minute. Garrick converted the try from in front of the posts.
The Sharks hit back when hooker Blayke Brailey scored after a grubber kick saw the ball bounce off the leg of Daly Cherry-Evans. Johnson converted for a 40-12 lead with 14 minutes remaining.
The margin was reduced to 40-18 when Fonua-Blake scored his second try off a great pass from Curtis Sironen in the 71st minute. Garrick converted the try before a flying Funa planted the ball down with a spectacular dive for a 40-22 scoreline.
The Sea Eagles return home to Lottoland next Sunday for their clash against the Newcastle Knights.