Four Pointer: Cronulla Sharks v Manly Sea Eagles
Slow Starts Make for Poor Finishes
Once again, the Sharks had an awfully slow start, which allowed Manly to capitalise and build momentum that they maintained throughout the remainder of the match. It was stated in the lead up to the game that the Sharks would lose the match if they were to start the match as slowly as they have been in recent weeks. Their first twenty minutes were poor, making errors and conceding eighteen points, and it wasn’t until the thirtieth minute where Luke Lewis caught an intercept and ran the length of the field, which got the Sharks on the board. They scored minutes later, and then again in the final ten minutes, however that was all that was seen of them in the end. Coach Shane Flanagan and captain Paul Gallen was disappointed in their efforts. Flanagan noted that the first twenty was something that he hadn’t seen from the Sharks in a long time, and was gutted by their efforts. “That first twenty minutes was basically game over.” The coach hopes that it will be a wake up call for his Sharks.
Manly has a strong side, and it was shown on Sunday afternoon when they were able to show the Sharks how to start, and how to win a game. They completed at a high percentage, which enabled them to grasp the win with two hands and run away with it. If Manly are given a good start it’s highly likely that they will capitalise and win the game, and that’s exactly what they did. They dominated in possession of the ball, and completed at seventy-eight percent, which significantly contrasted the Sharks’ sixty-five. The Sea Eagles were completely dominant in attack, making more line breaks, offloads and runs. However, discipline was an issue, due to conceding nine penalties in the match (not saying that the Sharks were able to do anything with their penalties). Their tackle count was significantly lower, however this was due to the amount of possession that they had, which kept them on the attack for a large portion of the match. They played really well, and deserved the win.
For the first time in quite some time, the Sharks have fallen out of the top four on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, while Manly finds themselves in fourth position on the ladder. They are currently tied with the Broncos and the Sea Eagles on twenty-two points, however their for and against is the worst, due to not not being able to score as many points as they should be in a game in order for them to stay in the top four of the competition table. Coach Flanagan addressed this fall in the press conference following the match, after a reporter asked if the drop will be a wake up call for the side. Flanagan replied “I hope so,” and went on to explain that they are now down in numbers, after hooker Jayden Brailey left the field with a broken jaw. He also stated that the Sharks are headed to the Central Coast to take on the Roosters on July 1, which will be a big test for the team following Sunday’s performance. Whether or not this will be a wake up call will be seen on Saturday when they take on the Roosters.
Cherry-Evans Was Instrumental
The Origin snub from Kevin Walters and the QRL didn’t seem to worry Daly Cherry-Evans, when he proved himself worthy of a place in the squad as a result of the Thurston loss. He was once again one of the best, if not the best on field for Manly, successfully assisting his teammates in creating opportunities to score points against the Sharks on Sunday afternoon. He scored a field goal right on the bell of half time, which extended his team’s lead to seven. Throughout the match, he himself made three tackle breaks, and had two line break and two try assists, which allowed the Sea Eagles to gain momentum and dominance over the Sharks as the game continued. He made only one error, and kicked for 145 metres, and ran for 50. It was an important win for the Manly Sea Eagles, and their captain and halfback Cherry-Evans was once again an invaluable member of the team, and significant to their victory at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Tries: Luke Lewis, Sosaia Feki, Wade Graham
Goals: James Maloney 3
Manly Sea Eagles
Tries: Curtis Sironen 2, Matthew Wright 2, Blake Green, Dylan Walker
Goals: Matthew Wright 5
Field Goal: Daly Cherry-Evans