REPORT | Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 33 – 32 Cronulla Sharks

The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have won a Sunday afternoon thriller, beating the Cronulla Sharks 33-32 in golden point extra time at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla.


The Sharks opened the scoring when fullback Valentine Holmes added to his impressive try scoring tally for the year after he crossed in the 3rd minute. It took Manly less than five minutes to answer back, when second rower Shaun Lane barged over for an easy try to level the scores. Returning Sharks second rower Wade Graham was welcomed back with a try when captain Paul Gallen gave him a late offload close to the line to put the Sharks ahead again.  After a period of ill-discipline from the Sharks, Manly found themselves leading 20-12. On the stroke of halftime, Sharks centre Jesse Ramien scored a barnstorming try to give the Sharks some hope heading into the break only two points down.

The second half was very back and forth, with both teams trading quick tries straight after the break. They remained close for the rest of the game, with neither side able to break away from each other. The Sharks got a crucial penalty, and opted to kick for goal with 20 minutes left to tie the game at 26-26 all. The two teams traded one more try a piece but neither team could find a game winner in regulation. Manly received the ball first in golden point, and in their first set of extra time they rolled down the field with relative ease, before Daly Cherry-Evans snapped a field goal to give the Sea Eagles a thrilling 33-32 upset win.

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For the past two months, Manly have found a way to lose close games. In this game they turned things around and were able to show some grit in defense and determination in attack to get the job done against the Sharks. This win will feel especially good for Manly after the events of last week’s shocking loss to the Panthers at home. Daly Cherry-Evans was the star for Manly, kicking the winning field goal in golden point, off his non-preferred left foot to ice the game. The way they handled themselves in golden point was a stark contrast to previous weeks. This time it was Manly looked in control, and they seemed to all be on the same page when the game was on the line, which helped them ultimately win the game over the Sharks, who got complacent in the final minutes of regulation and in golden point.

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This game was a shootout, with both teams finding it easy to score points on a dry track at Cronulla. 65 points were scored in total, which was almost a record for any game featuring these two sides. The Sharks were assisted greatly by the inclusion of Wade Graham after he had missed the past few weeks through injury. You could see the difference he made to the Sharks in attack, and he even chimed into the kicking game to finish off some sets with a touch of class. Manly were very good at making the Sharks pay for their mistakes, and Daly Cherry-Evans played one of his better games of the year to orchestrate many of Manly’s tries. It wasn’t just the tries and points that were high in number. The penalties in this game were quite high, with 23 being blown in total, which is somewhat unusual for a high scoring shootout, particularly with the trend in player fatigue being affected by high penalty counts.


This was always going to be a high scoring game, but few people thought this would be as close as it was. The Sharks were probably guilty of this, as their discipline really cost them throughout this game. In the first half, they had multiple tries overturned due to obstructions. Had all these tries been awarded, the Sharks would have gone into halftime with a decent lead, and would have been much harder to run down in the back-end of the game. They also had a period where they were down to 12 men when Aaron Woods was sin-binned for repeated penalties. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity though came from Valentine Holmes, when he missed a crucial penalty goal when the Sharks were leading 32-26 late in the game. Had he kicked this, the Sharks may have found themselves on the other side of the scoreboard at full-time.

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It may not have been a top of the table clash between two teams fighting for a position in the top four, but it still had the intensity one. By winning this game, Manly have avoided the wooden spoon for the time being, and sit in 14th position on the ladder. Next week they play an important game against a much improved Bulldogs side who are tied with them on 14 competition points. As for the Sharks, they could have found themselves equal with the Dragons on 28 points, and close to a top four birth. Instead, Manly have ensured they remain in 6th position, equal with both the Broncos and Warriors on 26 points. The Sharks are in danger of falling down to 8th if they can’t get back into the winner’s circle, and could potentially even find themselves out of the top eight if the Tigers continue winning at the same time.


Tries: Lane 2, Walker, T. Trbojevic, Thompson
Goals: Cherry-Evans 6/6
Drop Goals: Cherry-Evans

Tries: Holmes, Graham, Ramien, Woods, Moylan
Goals: Holmes 6/7
Drop Goals: N/A


Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 18 Josh Dugan, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Sione Katoa, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham (c), 13 Paul Gallen (c)

Interchange: 14 Scott Sorensen, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya

Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange: 14 Trent Hodkinson, 15 Kelepi Tanginoa, 17 Taniela Paseka, 20 Jack Gosiewski

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