The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have set up a mouth watering encounter with ladder leaders Melbourne next week, disposing of the Sharks by 18 points in yet another Tommy Turbo masterclass at Suncorp Stadium.
The Sea Eagles had all the momentum from the outset and looked set to score every time they touched the ball. Despite this, the Sharks were relatively defiant early, with Braydon Trindall sprinting across field to deny Reuben Garrick of a certain try.
No less than 2 minutes later, it was Will Kennedy pulling off the miracle tackle, stopping speedster Jason Saab metres short of the line. Manly knocked on a couple of plays later and the Sharks looked to have held them off.
7 minutes later, the Sea Eagles made no mistake. Cherry-Evans put in a kick that was overrun by 3 players and looked to be going dead, but Jason Saab managed to reel it back in to score the opener.
Ronaldo Mulitalo invited the Gullies right back into attacking position by failing to defuse a DCE bomb. Manly executed a right side sweeping play to perfection, with Trbojevic throwing the last pass to Saab, who scored his second in 4 minutes.
By that point, the Sea Eagles had well and truly found their mojo. They rolled 100 metres upfield off the very next set and opted to run on the last, with Tom Trbojevic getting a late offload to Morgan Harper, who dove over.
The Sharks finally got a reprieve from the onslaught in the 23rd minute when Josh Schuster threw a forward pass. They took full advantage, with nifty fullback Will Kennedy getting on the outside and streaking away to put the Sharkies on the board.
The rest of the half was a bit of an arm wrestle, with the Sharks able to break the stalemate about 30 seconds before half-time. Braydon Trindall put in an ambitious grubber than bounced off Schuster into Nikora, before sitting right up for the halfback to get the Sharks within 6.
Any hope the Sharks had of pulling off an upset was quickly snuffed out by Manly or, more specifically, Tom Trbojevic. The star fullback received an offload from Lachlan Croker on the last, pinned the ears back and was too strong for the Cronulla defence. 5 minutes later, he took full advantage of a broken field situation and some terrible defence from Tolman and Fifita to sprint away and score again.
He wasn't finished either, getting Manly into great field position before steaming onto the ball as if he was a front rower, proving too strong for a retreating defensive line. Within 15 minutes, a 6-point game had turned into a 24 point game, and the Sharks were dead in the water.
The very next set Cronulla had, Jack Williams knocked on on play 2, gifting Manly excellent field position. What happened next wasn't exactly to script, with Tommy setting up the try for Reuben Garrick rather than scoring it himself.
Toby Rudolf and Taniela Paseka would each have a stint on the sidelines due to headbutting and tripping offences respectively. During this period, Cronulla would score two late consolation tries, both to the same men who scored for them earlier (Kennedy and Trindall).
Next week, Manly will face their toughest test in a while, coming up against a red hot Melbourne Storm outfit, while the Sharks will look to get their finals push back on track against the Warriors.