Sharks fall short of miracle comeback as finals race heats up

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It marked the side’s fourth loss from their past seven with Craig Fitzgibbon’s men now tied with the eighth-place Eels and ninth-place Rabbitohs in the wins column with six rounds remaining.

The visitors lost front rower Taniela Paseka just four minutes in with the big man assisted from the field after picking up an apparent knee injury in an awkward tackle.

Josh Aloiai crashed over on a fifth-tackle, short-side sweep to get Manly on the board after just six minutes.

Their second came at the first quarter mark with skipper Daly Cherry-Evans stepping his way through a hole on the last tackle and finding a supporting Lachlan Croker with a nifty chip back on the inside that Nicho Hynes was unable to defuse to make it 10-0.

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Manly’s fortunes continued with a seemingly nonchalant Josh Schuster chip evading a trio of Sharks defenders and bouncing into the arms of a chasing Haumole Olakau’atu as they snagged their third try in less than half an hour.

A Cherry-Evans cut-out created space for a flying Jason Saab soon after with the lanky winger able to stay in the field of play and hit centre Toluta’u Koula back on the inside with a miracle flick pass to score.

Reuben Garrick nailed a sideline conversion against a strong wind to make it 20-0.

Saab again found himself streaking down the right touchline on the stroke of half-time and finding Garrick back on the inside for the Sea Eagles’ fifth try of the first half and a subsequent 24-0 lead.

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A Croker 40/20 put Manly back on the attack early in the second stanza and the visitors took full advantage of it with Koula steaming through a hole off a Cherry-Evans face ball to make it 30-to-nothing.

A fifth-tackle shift saw Will Kennedy send Ronald Mulitalo diving over in the corner moments later for Cronulla’s opening points.

Mulitalo was denied a second shortly after before his wing-partner Sione Katoa reeled in a Kennedy offload to score in the other corner.

The Sharks avalanche started with less than 10 remaining with Cameron McInnes taking in a Hynes inside ball and crashing over next to the sticks to make it 30-14.


The hosts went the length of the field the following set and scored through Jesse Ramien off a Hynes face ball to cut the deficit to 10.

Off the corresponding set, Mulitalo flipped the script and laid on a try for Kennedy with a pinpoint kick back on the inside off a break sending the PointsBet faithful went into a frenzy as the lead shrunk below a converted try.

The Sharks had chances late to pull off an all-time great comeback but ultimately fell short as Anthony Seibold’s men held on for their eighth win of the season.

Garrick scored a try and ran for 221 metres for Manly whilst Koula scored two and ran for 212 metres with four tackle breaks.

For Cronulla, Kennedy scored a try, assisted on two others, and ran for 185 metres whilst McInnes scored a try, ran for 156 metres, and made 40 tackles.

The Sharks will make the trip to BlueBet Stadium next Saturday night for a meeting with defending premiers Penrith as the race towards the postseason begins to heat up.

Cameron Laing
Owner | Local Supporter
Shire Talk

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