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Sea Eagles suffer heavy defeat to Sharks in Harold Matthews Cup

The Sea Eagles were no match for the Sharks as they suffered their first defeat of the season, going down 40-6 on a gloomy afternoon at 4 Pines Park in Round Four of the UNE Harold Matthews Cup. 

In the first of three matches at “The Fortress” on Saturday, the “Battle of the Beaches” looked to be a tight encounter after a back-and-forth opening five minutes. That wasn’t to be for Manly as Cronulla went on to score three of their seven tries in the first 20 minutes in what turned out to be a one-sided affair.

A near full-field effort gave the Sharks an early lead in the seventh minute as five-eighth Callum Grantham scored under the posts. Fullback Oliver Lester took the ball in front of his own posts and raced down the right sideline before passing infield to Grantham, with the latter racing 45 metres downfield to score. He converted his own try for a 6-0 scoreline.

Cronulla had their second try five minutes later through Johnathan Mansour. The halfback broke through the defence with a strong run and dived over under the posts as Grantham converted for a 12-point lead. 
Momentum maintained heavily in favour of the visitors as they scored again with just over ten minutes to play in the first half. After breaking out of a scrum at the ten-metreline, Lester, who set up the first try, pulled two defenders with him and reached out to ground the ball on the tryline. Grantham converted to extend his side's lead to 18-0.

Manly hit back in the 24th minute with a try for forward Dylan Simmons after two sets in front of Cronulla’s line, including a forced drop-out from the kick-off. After numerousattempts to beat the defence, Simmons stepped up and changed his angle at the line with a barnstorming run to break through and dive over for the try. Second-rower Beau McKee converted to cut the deficit back down to 12 points heading into halftime.

Despite conceding a drop-out in their first defensive set of the second half, the Sharks were able to retaliate with two tries in the opening ten minutes, with Grantham crashing over for his second and lock Thomas Dellow diving over. Grantham converted both for a 24-point lead.

Second-rower Kaden Garner and centre Elijah Cooper scored in the 46th and 52nd minute as Cronulla continued to put points on the board, taking their lead to 38-6. 

Grantham converted a late penalty goal for the Sharks from the sideline for a final scoreline of 40-6.

The Sea Eagles head north to the Hunter Region as they take on the Newcastle Knights in Round Five on Saturday March 2, 12.20pm, at Kurri Kurri Sports Ground. 

Sharks 40 (Tries: Grantham 7’, Mansour 11’, Lester 19’, Grantham 35’ Dellow 40’, Garner 46’, Cooper 52’. Grantham 6/8 goals) def. Sea Eagles 6 (Try: Simmons 24’. McKee 1/1 goal) 

Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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