The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have climbed back into the NRL top 8 with a dominant performance over the struggling Cronulla Sharks, 24-4 at a Brookvale Oval. A poor crowd of 9,065 watched Manly down the Sharks as rain did falling pre-match could have turned away supporters.
Steve Matai racked up his fourth double of the season which started in quick fashion as the returning Jorge Taufua set up the centre for first Sea Eagles points. Manly made it, 6-0 after just 3 minutes.
Brenton Lawrence turned on the speed as the charging front rower sailed into a defensive hole courtesy of a miracle flick pass from Man of the Match, Brett Stewart. The Sea Eagles led 12-0 after 16 minutes.
In his first game back from injury Jorge Taufua made an impact as he crossed the line as a reward for his efforts. Mid-way through the first half the winger hit and spin his way over the try line as the Sharks defence failed to cover the attack from the Sea Eagles.
Just minutes later Taufua was denied his second four-pointer as he bolted 85 metres downfield after taking an intercept pass. However, the winger was chased down by the flying Sharks second-rower, Sam Tagataese.
The Sea Eagles closed out the first half as Steve Matai posted his second try after the afternoon to claim his 8th try of season 2014. Brett Stewart provided the short pass to send Matai over untouched in the western corner.
Manly headed into the sheds 20-0 leaders after a poor performance from the visiting Sharks.
The Sea Eagles went into cruise control in the second half as they rolled through their sets defending their points. Peta Hiku scored the only points of the second half for the home side as he kicked ahead a Brett Stewart offload to score Manly's fifth try of the afternoon.
Cronulla still out on their feet in season 2014 with injuries halting their efforts to make a dent on the competition. The Sharks cracked the maroon and white defence in the 80th minute as Wade Graham cleaned up loose ball in goal off a Jeff Robson cross field kick.
The Sea Eagles flying high again, redeeming themselves after being wiped off the park by Wests Tigers in Round 5. Next week the Sea Eagles head up the M1 to Gosford to host the Cowboys at Central Coast Stadium on Good Friday. Meanwhile the Cronulla Sharks head home to Remondis Stadium to face the struggling 2013 Premiers, the Sydney Roosters.