Manly deny Sharks top four berth
The Manly Sea Eagles have upset the finals-bound Sharks 14-12 in a thriller, denying Cronulla a place in the top four on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
In front of 19,000 fans at Remondis Stadium and the Sharks vying for a second chance in the finals, Manly were able to send coach Geoff Toovey and players Kieran Foran, Ligi Sao and Justin Horo out winners.
Something which will certainly prove a sticking point is the fact the Sharks were denied an unbelievable five tries by the resilient Sea Eagles defence.
It looked to be the Sharks' game for much of the contest with two of their disallowed tries coming in the 9th and 13th minutes.
Another disallowed try – where Gordon and captain Paul Gallen collided when both attempted to score from a Tom Trbojevic error – was the impetus behind the first try of the match.
From the pursing Manly goal line dropout, Ennis' dummy half prowess enabled back-rower Wade Graham to get one-on-one with a Sea Eagles defender from close range to score. Incredibly the Sharks had had 73 per cent of possession in the opening 25 minutes.
Not that it stopped Manly from hitting back, in their first real crack at Cronulla's try-line in the 31st minute, when forward Jesse Sene-Lefao powered his way past Gordon and Luke Lewis to score.
Cronulla's disallowed try woes, after winger Sosaia Feki was denied by Manly captain Brett Stewart out wide in the 32nd minute, were compounded when Foran equalled the ledger with a penalty goal just a minute later.
While Sea Eagles were denied a try themselves in the 39th minute, they went into the sheds up on the scoreboard after another Foran penalty goal.
Disallowed their fourth and fifth tries of the match within the first 10 minutes of the second half, with the latter potentially being one of the tries of the year, they couldn't be denied a sixth when centre Gerard Beale scored in the 57th minute from some handy lead-up offloading by Sam Tagataese.
With Cronulla pounding the Sea Eagles line it was an unlikely 60 metre intercept in the 68th minute from Manly back-rower Horo, who then offloaded to winger Tom Trbojevic to score, that saw the away team hit the lead again – which proved to be the match winner – despite the Sharks efforts late on in the game.
Manly Sea Eagles 14 (Jesse Sene-Lefao, Tom Trbojevic Tries; Kieran Foran 3 Goals) defeated Cronulla Sharks 12 (Wade Graham, Gerard Beale Tries; Michael Gordon 2 Goals) at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 19,146. Half-time: Sea Eagles 10-8.