When seventh plays 11th on the NRL ladder, you could be forgiven for believing the side in the top eight have it in the bag.
So despite the loss of Tom Trbojevic, it was still believed Manly could pull it off.
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Going along with the Sharks have been spotty at best with the spotlight turned firmly on the side’s halves and coach John Morris, while the Sea Eagles are fresh off one of the gutsiest wins in recent memory.
And head-to-head, Manly have won 66 of the 92 matches between the teams, it best winning record and the Sharks’ worst losing record, while the Sharks have won just one of the past 10 games between the sides.
That changed in emphatic fashion on Sunday night with the Sharks running away 34-6 leaders after 55 minutes.
But prematch, it looked like it would all come up Sea Eagles with an actual sea eagle landing at the ground with a fish in its talons.
Only it wasn’t the entire story with the fish getting away from the eagle.
“That Sea Eagle took off, dropping the fish,” Sterling said during the second half on Channel 9.
An actual sea eagle caught the fish but didn’t have much joy on the day.Source:Twitter
The Sea Eagles started well, hitting back after an early try from the Sharks’ Braden Hamlin-Uele through Jorge Taufua, who closed in on Jamie Lyon on the Sea Eagles’ try scoring list.
The next joy the Sea Eagles would face was in the 60th minute when Addin Fonua-Blake crossed to make it 34-12.
Five unanswered tries blew the Sea Eagles off the field on either side of halftime as the Sharks impressed.
A controversial try from Blake Brailey for the Sharks followed by two late consolation tries for the Sea Eagles made it a 40-22 win, the Sharks’ biggest ever away win over the Sea Eagles, surpassing a nine-point win in 1974.
The @Cronulla_Sharks record their biggest ever away win (18 points) over the Sea Eagles eclipsing the 9 point win in 1974 at Brookvale Oval (27-18) #NRLManlySharks #UpUp
With 16 minutes to go, the Sharks led 34-12 and were attacking the Sea Eagles line.
Starting 10m out on the last tackle, Matt Moylan put in a grubber that deflected off legs and Blake Brailey appeared to have scored, except Manly’s Curtis Sironen appeared to have been tackled by Wade Graham and denied a chance to clear the ball.
It looked like an open shut case for the Bunker with even Brailey not looking too confident.
Graham was shoved by Adam Elliott and appears to have ankle tapped Sironen.
While the commentators debated whether it was penalty for Elliott’s effort or whether Graham ankle tapped Sironen, the video referee said it was incidental and gave Brailey the try.
“That was heading a few different ways at stages,” Brenton Speed said on Fox Sports. “But it goes the way of Blake Brailey in the end.”
“I don’t agree with that,” Michael Ennis said. “Gee that’s a tough call on Sironen.
“No doubt the Manly players would have been frustrated with that decision there, I thought Elliott clearly leant in and collected Wade Graham, penalty sufficient there, becuase Graham then goes on and takes out Sironen who should have had every right to get to that ball and I don’t think he did.”
On Channel 9, Peter Sterling was just thankful that it was a 22 point lead rather than just two points or it would have been a much bigger controversy.
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