The Cronulla Sharks have beaten the Manly Sea Eagles 22-40 at Central Coast Stadium this afternoon. The Sharks showed us signs of good improvement, whereas Manly showed us how their attack may struggle without their star fullback Tom Trbojevic.
The Sea Eagles no doubt struggled in attack with the losses of Dylan Walker and Tom Trbojevic in this game. The scoreboard read 22 points next to their name, however most of their points came late with consolation tries and some individual brilliance from the likes of Addin Fonua-Blake and Curtis Sironen.
The boys from the Northern Beaches of Sydney looked like they were going to make a contest of the game early on. Despite letting the Sharks score the first try of the game, Manly answered back not too long after, making the score 4-6. Shortly after, Rueben Garrick levelled the scores at 6-6 with a penalty goal.
However, it was mostly down hill for Manly after that point, with the half time score seeing them behind 6-18. An early try going against them in the second half all but sealed the deal for the game as the Sharks leapt out to a 6-24 lead.
Manly had already conceded 40 points before they began to score some points late, scoring in both the 71st and 77th minute. It wasn't all bad for Manly as they did show their ability to score some points. Fonua-Blake and Sironen were outstanding and it will take time for them to get used to playing without 'Tommy Turbo'.
The Sharks were very good for the majority of the match, but did fade out in patches which saw them concede points. These fades were the reason for them conceding 22 points, but they will be happy with the win and especially happy with how they played in their good patches.
Shaun Johnson, the competitions leading player in try assists, played a great game, along with hooker Blayke Brailey who seems to be feeling more comfortable in his role as the season progresses. The black-white-and-blues were able to set up some good tries and defend their line when it mattered, which was very positive for them.
Both teams have things to improve on after this game, but Cronulla will be far happier with their performance. Manly will take on Newcastle back home at Lottoland next Sunday, whilst Cronulla will take on the Gold Coast Titans in Brisbane on Saturday.