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Manly have broken the hearts of 15,133 Sharks fans at home, with a last gasp try to steal the game 19-13 tonight.
It's a game Cronulla should have never lost but somehow they did, conceding a 13 point lead in the second half to lose their first home game in Australia in 2011. It started off so well, Cronulla dominating possession and bossing the Manly forward pack.
They would capitalize on the domination in the 19th minute, after a beautiful offload from Paul Gallen, it was put through the hands to Matthew Wright who strolled in untouched. John Williams with a shocker only made it a four point advantage.
Cronulla would bounce on mistakes made by the Sea Eagles whenever they tried to push the pass once too many but some resolute defence kept them to a penalty goal from Williams. Added to this, a field goal on the stroke of halftime by Wade Graham, it would be an odd scoreline of 7-0 for Cronulla.
It was more of the same, early in the second half, with Manly not clicking in attack, forcing the pass or choosing the wrong option. When Snowden found his way into a gap and offloaded to Flanagan to make it 13 to nothing, with twenty minutes to go, the game threatened to die out.
No one told that to Kieran Foran though, from a messy piece of play near the sideline, where it was kicked three times, the last for Foran to score brought Manly back into the game with 18 minutes to go.
Cronulla started getting frustrated, conceding penalties in blocks, allowing Manly to camp on their line. It proved costly when a rampaging George Rose crashed over from a Foran short ball and the Cherry-Evans conversion, made it a one point game with ten minutes to play.
Manly were gallant but it all seemed lost with three minutes to go and they were parked in their own area, an errant hand from Anthony Tupou allowed them a full set on the Sharks line. Up stepped Daly Cherry-Evans after missing a conversion, which would have taken the game to extra time last week against Souths, slotted the field goal to level precedings.
The scores wouldn't remain locked until the hooter though, with Manly cramped for room, trying a desperation chip kick for winger, Michael Oldfield who got a room service bounce and walked it in for a memorable Sea Eagles victory, 19-13.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 13 were defeated by Manly Sea Eagles 19
National Rugby League - Round 5 (Heritage Round) - Saturday April 9, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Steve Lyons
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Luke Phillips
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 7 Manly Sea Eagles 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Paul Gallen
2 Points - Kieran Foran (1 Try)
1 Point - Kade Snowden
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (13)
Tries: Stuart Flanagan, Matthew Wright
Field Goals: Wade Graham (1/1)
Conversions: John Williams (1/2)
Penalty Goals: John Williams (1/1)
Manly Sea Eagles (19)
Tries: George Rose, Kieran Foran, Michael Oldfield
Field Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans (1/1)
Conversions: Daly Cherry-Evans (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's HERITAGE ROUND - the Sharks will be wearing a retro strip from years gone by:
Welcome to a dry Shark Park for the first time in ages, for the rematch of the 1978 grand final and the battle of the beaches between Manly and Cronulla.
Earlier in the Toyota Cup, Cronulla won a thriller 21 points to 20, thanks to an Alex Townsend field goal.
There has been several changes for the visitors, with Brett Stewart out with a calf complaint. William Hopoate goes to fullback, Michael Oldfield to the wing and Tony Williams replaces Tim Robinson on the bench. For Cronulla, only one change, Dean Collis falls off the bench for John Mannah.
1 min: Both sides are on the field and we're ready for kick-off and Cronulla oblige.
1 min: An error within the first minute by Manly, trying to throw it around too much. Cronulla in prime position to strike first.
5 min: Daly Cherry-Evans serves up a beautiful ball for Glenn Stewart but he's brought down just before the line by Gardener. Cronulla defuse the last tackle option and earn a penalty early in their own set of six.
6 min: Silly pass from dummy-half is ruled forward and Sharks hand possession straight over.
Going to the video referee early here, Steve Matai might have a try in his return game.
9 min: NO TRY! Steve Matai just had to fall on the ball, after a good kick from Foran but he dropped it just in the field of play. Cronulla scrum feed, ten metres out.
10 min: Manly willing to throw the ball around early, Glenn Stewart tries to pass but a Cronulla hand gets in the way, six again for Manly.
11 min: Manly wanting to keep it alive again but it costs them this time, Paul Aiton dives on the ball.
13 min: Luke Douglas is down, ouch he clashed heads with his own team mate. He's up and jogging off the field fine.
16 min: A spectulator put up on last and it comes off the back of Albert Kelly. Sharks keep the ball alive to Gardener who refuses to give up on the play, grubbering for himself and almost regathers but he was taken over, penalty Cronulla.
19 min: TRY
Good play from Cronulla there, Paul Gallen charges at the line but is taken by three defenders. This leaves a 3 on 1 for the next tackle and it goes through the hands to gives Matthew Wright an easy walk-in try. Williams with a shocker from the sideline and misses.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4-0
21 min: They did it all right there Cronulla! Backing Manly into a corner, forcing them to throw it around on their own 20 metre line, with Cherry-Evans finally getting a kick away, Nathan Gardener traps it with his feet but spills it. Good opportunity for Manly to strike back here.
22 min: Manly already on the attack, get their first penalty and heap on the pressure. Cronulla hold on their own line though, forcing Cherry-Evans to dink one straight to Tupou.
24 min: Welcome back Matai, he sprinted out of the line to put pressure on Aiton and it tolled on him because he threw it forward. Manly try the cut-out pass for Robertson but it's knocked down by John Williams but it didn't matter because it was forward by Manly.
29 min: Both sides are settling into the grind here, getting to the end of their sets and kicking it deep.
33 min: Penalty, Gardener's run from the try-line has inspired the Sharks and they have earned themselves a penalty after catching the Sea Eagles offside.
35 min: Manly looking dangerous but are lacking the penetration at the moment, a forward pass 20 metres out. Cronulla almost streak away, thanks to Best and Gardener but he's been roped in and Kite holds on too long, conceding the penalty. Cronulla opt for the penalty goal.
37 min: PENALTY GOAL
From 40 metres out, John Williams strikes it well and it's over.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
39 min: Just forcing the issue too much here Manly, offloading when it's not needed. They have given Cronulla one more set at their line before halftime, they keep them out but have to defend a few more tackles from a line drop out.
40 min: FIELD GOAL
Hooter approaching and Cronulla have nothing doing, so it's thrown to Wade Graham who calmly slots a field goal to take us to halftime.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 7-0
41 min: We're back, hopefully for an entertaining second half. Here we go!
42 min: A good charge from Robertson on the second tackle, earns Manly the first penalty of the second half.
43 min: Jamie Lyon throws a horrible pass to Mauro who shows off some soccer skills, kicking the ball straight to Gardener.
44 min: Just not clicking again for Manly, Cherry-Evans puts it high again but Foran knocks it on.
46 min: Relieving penalty from Flanaghan there, getting the Manly player around the neck.
48 min: Manly making inroads here but can't put the finishing touches on. They'll get another chance, thanks to a Gallen knock on.
49 min: An attacking raid comes to naught again for Manly, grubber just goes dead.
51 min: Loving the kick tonight Manly, they are caught down the sideline and forced to kick straight to Matthew Wright. Some fortune though, it's dropped by Cronulla, can Manly get on the board tonight?
57 min: TRY
Kade Snowden found himself in open space, after stepping past a few defenders. He drew the fullback and passed to Flanagan who goes over under the posts. Williams from in front, has no problems with this one.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 13-0
58 min: Sharks try to shift it wide to Pomeroy who stays upright in the tackle, looking for the offload but drops it.
Manly might have their first points to Foran but checking the onside.
62 min: TRY
That was weird, Manly were going nowhere on fourth tackle, so shift wide. It's kicked by Glenn Stewart followed by Lyon who hooks it back inside for Foran who gets Manly on the board. Cherry-Evans from in front, smashes it over.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 13-6
63 min: Change in momentum perhaps? Manly shifted it on second tackle and catch Cronulla who are pinged for offside.
64 min: Another penalty here, Jeremy Smith caught for stripping the ball. Cronulla are forced back on their line again from another offside penalty.
66 min: Cronulla are just making it harder for themselves, Paul Aiton swiping at a ball he shouldn't have. Six more for Manly until they knocked on. Scrum Manly.
George Rose might have motored over the tryline, checking if he got the ball down.
68 min: TRY
We have a game! George Rose explodes onto a short ball and takes on four Sharks defenders, spins around and scores. Cherry-Evans makes no mistakes again and we have a one point ball game.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 13-12
71 min: An interesting ten minutes left and Steve Matai is down, clutching his shoulder. Those playing the Matai drinking game, have a drink.
75 min: Matai is down again, take another drink! Six to go, one point in it.
76 min: Gallen forces one and Manly get the ball on their own 20.
78 min: Manly are on halfway, last tackle, throwing it around and get a major lifeline. Anthony Tupou knocking on.
79 min: FIELD GOAL
The error has proven costly. Manly drove down field on their five plays, were ten metres out and Cherry-Evans cool as can be, slots the field goal.
80 min: TRY
A few seconds left, Manly are squeezed down the sideline. They try a chip-kick, it bounces for Michael Oldfield who runs away to win the game for Manly and break the hearts of Sharks fans. Cherry-Evans with the academic conversion, slots it.
Manly Sea Eagles 19-13