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Sea Eagles share the spoils in Tarsha Gale Cup

The Sea Eagles were forced to settle for an 18-all draw with the Sharks in Round Four of the Westpac Tarsha Gale Cup on Sunday afternoon at 4 Pines Park.

Manly thought they’d had the match won with a try in the 51st minute from forward Indiana Russell-Lia taking the score out to 18-10. But Cronulla weren’t backing down and went on to score two tries in the final five minutes to level the scores.

The home side were unable to walk away with both competition points, despite leading for three quarters of the match. Both teams couldn’t be separated, scoring four tries apiece.

The draw comes off the back of two dominant victories in a row for the Sea Eagles, in which they defeated the Rabbitohs (52-6) and the Dragons (52-0).

Manly controlled the opening stages of the match, with their non-stop attack forcing the Sharks back. Forward Araiterangi Karaitiana had a chance to open the scoring with a strong run off a tap at the five-metre line, only to be held up by some desperate defence by the visitors.

Three plays later and the Sea Eagles finally struck through Teuwira Rameka-Keremete. Five-eighth Matisse Bettridge threw a phenomenal cut-out pass in the lead up, skipping two players to find Rameka-Kere on the wing for a four-point lead after seven minutes.

Bettridge was orchestrating the plays as she used her skills to set up Manly’s second try for centre Aleksandra Tunufai. The captain fooled the defence with a dummy and found herself one-on-one with the Sharks fullback. Tunufai chased hard in support on the outside and was rewarded for it as she took a pass and went over untouched to extend the lead to 8-0.

Cronulla hit back with a sneaky try for Tia-Jordyn Vasilovski two minutes before halftime. The fullback caught Manly’s defence off guard with a quick tap and scored next to the posts. Winger Arianna Ruwoldt converted next to the posts for an 8-6 scoreline at the break.

The lead went on to change in the opening ten minutes of the second half, highlighting just how close this match was going to be.

The Sharks scored in the 34th minute through winger Arianna Ruwoldt, taking a 10-8 lead.

But they didn’t hold control of the match for long as the Sea Eagles regained the lead six minutes later with a try through utility Araiterangi Karaitiana who pushed over multiple defenders to ground the ball for a 12-10 scoreline.

Play was halted in the 43rd minute when Bettridge was taken off the field with an unfortunate injury in what was a blow for the in-form Manly side.

The Sea Eagles continued with their momentum to score their fourth try nine minutes later through Indiana Russell-Lia. The forward got the better of her opposition with a strong run, barging through numerous defenders and slamming the ball down under the posts. Lock Lili Boyle converted from in front to push the lead out to eight points.

With time ticking down, the Sharks needed to reply and unfortunately for Manly, they did. Prop Koreti Leilua brought her side back within touching distance with a try in the 55th minute and Ruwoldt scored three minutes later after a good offload in the leadup to send her over untouched in the corner.

Ruwoldt had a chance to win the match for the Sharks but was unable to convert from the sideline for a final scoreline of 18-all.

The Sea Eagles head north to take on the Newcastle Knights in Round Five on Saturday March 2, 1.40pm, at Kurri Kurri Sports Ground.

Sea Eagles 18 (Tries: Rameka-Keremete 7’, Tunufai 19’, Karaitiana 40’, Russell-Lia 51’. Nicole Gray 0/2 goals, Boyle 1/2 goals) drew with Sharks 18 (Tries: Vasilovski 28’, Ruwoldt 34’, Leilua 55’, Ruwoldt 58’. Ruwoldt 1/4 goals)

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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