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Manly-Warringah have continued their solid form in the NRL today, disposing easily of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks with a 40-12 victory in front of more than 16,000 vocal fans at Brookvale.
While the scoreline was convincing, it was Cronulla who managed to inspire early, the first points coming after just a few minutes to their so-called "saviour" in Tim Smith. The early 6-0 lead was all Manly needed to kick-start their run, and struck back to lead 12-6 after twenty minutes.
While the Sharks' defence was hit-and-miss, Manly's attacking options cruelled them until the final ten minutes of the half when three tries between the 30th and 40th minute gave the hosts an unprecedented 30-6 lead going into the break.
With the spirits of the Sharks broken, the Eagles were perfectly placed to go on with the job in the second half, but the Sharks defence improved and Manly only managed to add ten more points while Grant Millington's try for the Sharks kept the scoring after the break to a minimum. Manly's Brent Kite also found himself on report for a high shot on Blake Ferguson early in the second half.
In the end a clinical display from the Sea Eagles but they'll still need to lift a gear if they're to get past the Melbourne Storm next Monday night at Etihad Stadium - while the Sharkies will fancy their chances against the low-flying Broncos who haven't won since their round one triumph over North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
Manly Sea Eagles 40 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 5 - Sunday April 11, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Referee: Tony Archer and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Dave Munro
Halftime: Manly Sea Eagles 30 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6
MANLY SEA EAGLES (40)
Tries: Glenn Stewart, Michael Robertson (2), Jamie Lyon (2), Matt Cross, Trent Hodkinson
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (6/7)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (12)
Tries: Grant Millington, Tim Smith
Conversions: Nathan Stapleton (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome for the first time this season to Brookvale Oval, for today's clash between Manly and Cronulla.
Both teams are named 1-17 and earlier today Manly ended Cronulla's winning streak in the Toyota Cup U20's by 30-16.
We're underway at Brookvale with the Sharks having first use of the ball.
2 min: Cronulla with an early penalty catching the Manly defenders being a bit slow around the ruck. Sharks to attack here.
3 min: TRY
Freakish hands from Grant Millington off an Albert Kelly outside run see the Sharkies link up with Tim Smith who opens the scoring. Stapleton adds the two and we have Cronulla six in front after just four minutes of play.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
6 min: Kelly survives his first bomb of the match off the boot of Trent Hodkinson. Not enough pressure on the Cronulla fullback.
8 min: Manly get a relieving penalty coming out of their own half - plenty of the Sharks defenders inside the ten. Good crowd has built up at Brookie this afternoon but they aren't making the noise they're famed for so far...
10 min: It comes undone for Manly on the last as they look to throw it wide and then come back inside. Hodkinson cleans up the scraps but the referee rules it a knock-on.
14 min: Promising play from Cronulla and they're making plenty of metres up the park - but a wide ball from Trent Barrett out to John Morris is a mile forward and the referee doesn't miss it.
15 min: Watmough makes good metres up the middle and looks to get it away, the Sharks knock the ball down from the attempted offload and when Watmough retrieves the ball they strip it from him. Manly penalty in front of the posts...
16 min: TRY
Manly go to the right and Jamie Lyon finds himself able to scoot past some defenders and crash over the line. He converts to level the scores.
20 min: The Brookie faithful find their voice as Hodkinson is ruled to have passed forward to Ben Farrar who was in space. Cronulla scrum.
22 min: Kelly fails his latest bomb test, completely misjudged the bounce of the ball and only through Matai rushing too quickly do Cronulla earn a 20m restart.
24 min: We're going to the VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Manly try. Robertson's gone over in the corner exposing some weak Sharks defence. Checking the corner post...
25 min: TRY
Michael Robertson is awarded the try and he's done it with very little room to move. The home side now leads as Lyon's conversion goes between the sticks.
Manly Sea Eagles 12-6
28 min: Manly do well to force a repeat set from the Sharks. They go left and now we're up to the VIDEO REFEREE and Robertson might have a double here!
29 min: It's NO TRY, looks like we'll have a knock-on ruling against Watmough before the ball trickled out to Robertson. 50/50 call there.
31 min: Cronulla's turn to pressure the Manly line comes, but on the last Ben Farrar does well to get Manly out of trouble. Now the Sharks compound this and give away a penalty.
33 min: Upstairs again to the VIDEO REFEREE and the Sharks haven't handled a Manly grubber and Glenn Stewart dives on the loose ball. Checking now if a Shark has forced it before Stewart gets to it...
34 min: TRY
Manly slowly skipping away here as Glenn Stewart is awarded the try under the posts. Jamie Lyon has no trouble extending Manly's lead to twelve points.
Manly Sea Eagles 18-6
35 min: Cronulla concede another penalty to help Manly continue their upfield surge. The crowd is right behind the maroon-and-whites now and we could see another four pointer for the home side if Cronulla's defence doesn't aim up.
37 min: TRY
Cronulla knock the ball down in an attempt to reclaim possession and it's a Manly scrum. It's all too easy and Hodkinson runs more than 30 metres to score under the posts.
Manly Sea Eagles 24-6
39 min: Paul Gallen in a questionable position grabs an intercept and thought he makes no metres it stems the Manly tide for now. A penalty for Cronulla now gives them a shot before the break.
40 min: TRY
A Cronulla knock on and it's a scrum on the Manly 20m. Matai goes straight through up the left! He's brought down 30m out. The set plays out and quick hands on the last, right on the siren, sees Matt Cross push through defenders to score near the posts. Lyon's fifth conversion is successful.
Manly Sea Eagles 30-6
40 min: HALFTIME at Brookvale Oval and there's nothing doing for the Sharks. The visiting side started the better, but Manly have slowly clicked into gear after Tim Smith's early try and put on 30 unanswered points, 18 of them coming in the last ten minutes of the first half. The Sharks defensive line has become brittle and their discipline and handling have slowly gone from solid to atrocious as the game has gone on. There have been many cases of miracle comebacks in 2010, but it's difficult to see Cronulla getting within a bulls roar of Manly today.
41 min: The second half commences with Manly having first possession.
43 min: Blake Ferguson has been hit high by Brent Kite and the Sharks winger doesn't look in a good way. Brent Kite (Sea Eagles) is ON REPORT.
43 min: Ferguson is groggy but is staying out there. The ensuing penalty sees Cronulla in good field position but two tackles in the errors creep in and it's a knock on. Manly coming out of their own end get a penalty as Anthony Tupou takes Glenn Stewart high. An unfortunate start to the half from both sides.
48 min: Manly force back-to-back sets but Cronulla's defence is holding for now.
50 min: More promising footy from Manly but this time the sideline is where Jamie Lyon's pass heads, Tony Williams just not in the right spot.
52 min: Gallen runs onto a good ball from Trent Barrett and looks set to power over the line but he hasn't caught it... the story of the Sharks' afternoon so far.
54 min: TRY
Jamie Lyon backs himself on the end of a backline movement and runs almost 50 metres to score and put the result beyond any sort of reasonable doubt - if it wasn't already. He can't continue his perfect form with the boot though - it's bounced off the upright!
Manly Sea Eagles 34-6
57 min: Cronulla's last tackle option this time goes out on the full, Tim Smith is filthy with himself.
60 min: Penalty to Manly for a leg-pull, Cronulla trying to slow Manly's relentless play down. The Sharks will do well to stop them here...
61 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Josh Perry try to Manly. Checking obstruction. Could be another controversial ruling here - although it will have little bearing on the result.
61 min: NO TRY. Consistent with other rulings this weekend but no doubt we'll hear about it as the week goes on. No common sense really applied there, Perry would feel dudded.
64 min: A good kick-chase by the Sea Eagles and while Blake Ferguson gets himself into the field of play, he's not down low enough to stop them forcing him back.
67 min: TRY
The Sharks put some solid plays together and Grant Millington scores under the posts off a good Tim Smith pass. Stapleton takes the Sharks to twelve points.
Manly Sea Eagles 34-12
69 min: Manly penalised for a strip and the Sharks will get another opportunity to attack. Crowd of over 16,000 in at Brookvale today, official figure available shortly.
73 min: End-to-end stuff from both sides in the last few minutes, Cronulla have looked far more disciplined but it's too little too late. Wait... this updater speaks too soon as Trent Barrett throws a terrible forward pass.
76 min: TRY
Manly build pressure and finally a heavily-bandaged Michael Robertson crosses in the corner to turn his tally today into a double. Sideline conversion from Jamie Lyon is leather perfect.
Manly Sea Eagles 40-12
77 min: Official crowd figure of 16,055 announced, a great crowd for Sunday afternoon at Brookvale and the ground looks packed.
79 min: Tim Smith puts a 5th tackle kick across the park and manages to get it to land on top of the corner post... freakish stuff. It's a Manly 20m tap though. Manly with one last shot at points with less than a minute to go.
80 min: Gallen knocks the ball down and the ensuing scrum won't pack before the siren sounds. FULLTIME at Brookvale, Manly comprehensive winners of the annual Steve Rogers Cup for which these two sides contest. Cronulla thoroughly outclassed today by an almost clinical opposition in the Sea Eagles.