Sharks v Sea Eagles: Five key points
The Sea Eagles held strong with limited possession to come out winners and send out coach Geoff Toovey and the likes of Kieran Foran and match-winner Justin Horo grinners following their brave 14-12 win over the Sharks on Sunday afternoon.
Toovey departs the Sea Eagles a winner
After 28 years of blood, sweat and tears as both a player and a coach at the Sea Eagles, Geoff Toovey will leave the club as a winner.
Hanging up the clipboard for the foreseeable future, Toovey joked he wasn't emotional about his departure following their two-point win.
"Nah I'm lying. I think I perforated [Sea Eagles assistant coach] David Penna's eardrum so I'll owe him a beer or two," Toovey said.
"I'm a bit of a realist. It is the way it is. I'll be disappointed [on Monday] because I see the teams who are in front of us and I know we're a better team than them. But they deserve to be there and unfortunately we'll miss out."
Toovey couldn't help but have one last jab at the club's hierarchy though.
"We've had a fantastic coaching department for the past decade which has been pulled apart," he said. "And I'm not quite sure why."
Trbojevics step up to the plate
Winger Tom Trbojevic scored the winning try while his older brother, prop Jake, stepped up in Brett Stewart's absence for the post-match conference – where he expressed how proud he was of his side's efforts to sink the Sharks.
Not that the eldest Trbojevic brother didn't step up on the field either after smashing out 113 metres and 38 tackles against the Sharks' forward pack.
"It's definitely very special to come to Cronulla and finish the season off on a positive note. Tooves has been a legend of the club for the best part of 30 years and the work he puts in week-in, week-out is phenomenal," Trbojevic said.
"To see out players like Foz [Foran] and that too is really good because they have been great for the club and it's just a good way to finish the season."
Where does Cronulla's finals future lie?
Despite having everything to play for against a Manly team who lost their chance to contest in the upcoming finals series, the Sharks will have to lament on their lost top four berth.
With Cronulla going down to Manly, the Storm's seven-point win over Brisbane on Thursday means they jump to fourth and will face the minor premiers in the Roosters on Friday night.
On top of that, the Bulldogs' four-point win over the Warriors sees Cronulla drop to sixth on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder – meaning they'll face South Sydney in week one of the finals next Sunday afternoon.
Manly "should've, could've"
Toovey went on to express his disappointment of not being able to see out his final season in charge of the Sea Eagles past the first week of September – but realised six losses in their first seven games doesn't quite crack it in the NRL.
"I think Cronulla are a quality team, well-balanced side and using an old coaching terminology – they have sneaked under the radar a little bit – and they'll be a real surprise packet in the finals," Toovey said.
"But we were just too inconsistent particularly at the beginning of the year and it's obviously cost us at the back end."
Ennis out-menaced by Sea Eagles
Notorious pest Michael Ennis was targeted by the Sea Eagles from the get-go and it worked wonders.
Within 10 minutes Ennis had run-ins with Kieran Foran, Brett Stewart and on numerous occasions Feleti Mateo – it became too much for Ennis who had to retire his headgear after several melees as it became a target for the Sea Eagles.
Considering Ennis's linchpin status at the Sharks, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the Sea Eagles tactics worked in their favour
"They slowed the play the ball down, they pushed and shoved and trying to get us off our game and it worked," he said.
"We retaliated at times and there was a bit of banter out there, a bit of chat, and the Sea Eagles worked it well. We reacted when we shouldn't have."