Manly have finally pulled a thriller from the fire, stunning top-four hopefuls Cronulla with a golden-point 33-32 triumph thanks to a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal off his unfavoured left boot.
Eight days after coughing up an 18-point lead to Penrith, the Sea Eagles held their nerve after Cronulla twice came back from eight-point deficits.
With the Sharks up 32-26 and just five minutes on the clock, Manly levelled up when Joel Thompson scored from a Cherry-Evans grubber.
The Queensland No.7 drilled his first attempt at a one-pointer in the 78th minute, only for it to swing wide.
When Manly came knocking again during the first set of extra time, Cherry-Evans found himself in the same position. With Cronulla defenders bearing down, the Sea Eagles skipper calmly switched his stance to kick the 18th field goal of his NRL career.
Match: Sharks v Sea Eagles
Round 21 -
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
The heart-stopping win was a just reward for a Manly mob playing well above their cellar-dwelling status, and a fine finish to a 10-try contest with a bit of everything.
While Wade Graham's return from a groin injury saw the home side transformed into a different prospect in attack, Cronulla's ill-discipline remains the kryptonite to a 2018 premiership tilt whacked out of shape by back-to-back losses.
Nine penalties in the opening 30 minutes saw Sharks players spraying the officials and Aaron Woods binned for his teammates' infringements as the Sea Eagles pushed out to a surprise 20-12 lead.
Twice Cronulla had tries called back for obstruction as they mistimed runs down their right edge as Graham and Matt Moylan ran riot with ball in hand.
Between them, the pair finished with a try each and a hand in another as they threatened constantly, Moylan's 59th-minute solo effort giving Cronulla an ascendency Manly had held for most.
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From the outset Graham was in the thick of it, laying on a fourth-minute try for Valentine Holmes and then bagging his own from a Paul Gallen offload.
But a first-half double to back-rower Shaun Lane was doubled down by some fancy footwork from Dylan Walker that did Moylan all ends up to have the Sea Eagles up by eight just moments before halftime. That was followed bybullocking try to Jesse Ramien that pegged the visitors back.
The eight-point lead was re-established while fans were still finding their seats in the first minute after halftime, Tom Trbojevic flying over the top of Josh Dugan to nab a Cherry-Evans bomb.
James Segeyaro gave them reason to cheer within moments though when Aaron Woods' fell on his grubber for the big man's first try in Sharks colours, before the tries to Moylan and Thompson ensured tensions were at fever pitch with the contest winding down.
News & Notes: The Sea Eagles have beaten the Sharks in 15 of their last 17 games ... This was the first time Cronulla have scored more than 20 points against Manly in 14 games ... Shaun Lane has five tries from his last four games ... Cronulla are away to Melbourne next week for another edition of their fast-growing rivalry with the Storm while Manly host Canterbury.