The Sharks have said goodbye to their 2019 season and to Paul Gallen after a 12-point loss to Manly at Lottoland on Saturday night.
The first elimination final of the season saw the Manly Sea Eagles hosting the Cronulla Sharks at Lottoland. Both teams were desperate for the win, but it was Manly who managed to steal the win and continue their 2019 finals campaign.
The Seas Eagles started the game really well, with the first try of the night coming from Apisai Koroisau in the ninth minute. Just two minutes after this, Moses Suli scored a try of his own. Reuben Garrick’s conversions gave the home team a 12-point lead within the opening 12 minutes. The Sharks struggled defensively all game, particularly in the beginning. Brad Parker scored a controversial third try for Manly, who at this. Point led 18-0.
The Sharks didn’t score any points until the 25thminute, with Bronson Xerri going over for a try. Johnson missed the conversion. Manly remained on top of the game for the entire first half, going into the break leading 18-4.
The first points of the second half came from Aaron Gray after five minutes. With the conversion, the Sharks were now only 8-points behind. Despite this, their opposition remained in control and in charge of the game, leaving no room for Cronulla to come back. Addin Fonua-Blake scored again for Manly in the 52ndminute.
The final ten minutes of the game saw a try scored for each side. It was too little too late for the Sharks. The Sea Eagles won their first finals game, furthering their chances in the 2019 series. The Sharks farewelled captain Paul Gallen.
Sharks Struggle Against Sea Eagles
No matter what the context of the competition is at the time these sides meet, the Sharks struggle to play a strong game against Manly. This was evident last night when they were 18 points down in the opening 20 minutes.
Well Played Manly
The Sea Eagles deserve to continue their finals campaign after their win at home on Saturday night. Despite having a handful of their best players missing from the side, they turned up and played a fantastic game that will see them into the second week of the 2019 finals series.
Cronulla Sharks fans have had to say their farewells to captain Paul Gallen earlier than they had hoped. The Saturday night loss for the Sharks meant elimination from the 2019 finals campaign, and thus, signalling the end of Gallen’s illustrious career.
Great Turn Out at Lottoland
It was likely this finals match was going to be played at Bankwest Stadium due to asbestos being found at Lottoland, however, the venue was given the all-clear and fans packed out the stadium to watch. This is an indication that more finals games should be given to suburban grounds.
Manly Sea Eagles 28
Tries: Apisai Koroisau, Moses Suli, Brad Parker, Addin Fonua-Blake, Brendan Elliot
Goals: Reuben Garrick 4
Cronulla Sharks 16
Tries: Bronson Xerri, Aaron Gray, Josh Morris
Goals: Shaun Johnson 2
Manly Sea Eagles: 1. Brendan Elliot, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Brad Parker, 4. Moses Suli, 5. Reuben Garrick, 6. Dylan Walker, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. Sean Keppie, 11. Corey Waddell, 12. Jack Gosiewski, 13. Jake Trbojevic, 14. Manase Fainu, 15. Haumole Olakau’atu, 16. Lloyd Perrett, 17. Toafofoa Sipley
Cronulla Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Aaron Gray, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 16. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen, 8. Aaron Woods, 14. Kurt Capewell, 15. Jack Williams, 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele