The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have accounted for a valiant Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks outfit this afternoon, taking out the match 25-18 in front of more than 17,000 at Brookvale.
Manly controlled proceedings early, racing to a 16-0 lead. Justin Horo struck first for the hosts, running off a superb Kieran Foran short-ball to cross out wide. Jamie Lyon's radar was off for the early try, but returned with two subsquent efforts as the Sea Eagles added further points through Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Symonds.
Cronulla's first points came completely against the run of play, Nathan Stapleton plucking a Foran cross-field kick out of the air on his own line and sprinting the length of the field to get the visitors on the board. Manly held a 16-6 lead through to halftime.
The Sharks' resurgence continued after the break, Stapleton scoring his second with a narrow passage down the left sideline. Gordon's successful conversions of both Cronulla tries meaning the visitors were just four points behind.
Manly then proceeded to step-up with the game on the line, first Brett Stewart looked like he was about to score, but the ball to him from Peta Hiku in the lead-up was ruled forward. Stewart and Hiku got their own back on the officials with a legitimate try a few minutes later, which Steve Matai then followed up. Lyon missed both conversion attempts, keeping the Sharks within 12 points.
This was Cronulla's cue to hit back, and they did so through Stewart Mills following some good draw-and-pass work by Ben Pomeroy. Townsend continued Gordon's earlier good work with the boot and the gap was reduced to six. It wasn't to be for the Sharks though, Cherry-Evans potting a field-goal five minutes from time to put his side seven points clear and secure the two points.
With the representative round ahead next week, both sides will get a rest, with the Sea Eagles returning to action on Friday week at Brookvale against the Rabbitohs. Cronulla have a home game in the NSW Central Coast city of Gosford, hosting the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium on Sunday April 28.