The Cronulla Sharks will be looking to cause the upset of the season so far when they clash against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles tonight. Join us for live scores and blog from 7.00pm AEDT.
Although we are just two rounds into the new season, the Sharks already have their backs against the wall courtesy of last week’s very disappointing performance against the Newcastle Knights.
Coming off a golden point loss to the Wests Tigers in round one, the Sharks were expected to give Newcastle a run for their money playing in front of a vocal home crowd at Toyota stadium.
Cronulla however once again fumbled their way to an 18-6 loss to a Knights side that played no where near their best.
Last week’s result left coach Shane Flanagan fuming and the Sharks will have to produce a complete form turnaround if they are to even stand a chance of competing against Manly tonight.
In contrast, the Sea Eagles (along with Melbourne) have set the benchmark thus far in the NRL, winning their opening two matches against difficult opponents.
Manly triumphed over the Tigers last week despite trailing 8 nil early, and also boast an impressive win against the Warriors away from home.
At their best, the Sea Eagles have Cronulla’s measure across the park and should win comfortably if they replicate their performances against the Tigers and Warriors.
The only thing capable of derailing Manly tonight could be the off-field distraction surrounding Daly Cherry-Evans’ future at the Sea Eagles.
Cherry-Evans has reportedly asked for a release from Manly, given that the Sea Eagles apparently aren’t matching his market value.
Although Manly have shown no signs of being distracted by off field incidents in their performances so far, it will be interesting to see how Cherry-Evans performs on the back of increased media speculation surrounding his future.
Despite the off field conjecture, one expects Manly and Cherry-Evans to continue their rich vein of form tonight against a Sharks side who continue to look disorganised in attack.
To stand a chance against Manly, Cronulla recruit Todd Carney will have to shine, but in order to do so, the Sharks pack has to stand up and meet its potential.
Test stars Jeremy Smith, Paul Gallen and Anthony Tupou are great players with terrific offloading ability, but all three were quite against Newcastle last week.
If Smith, Tupou and Gallen can rediscover their offloading prowess, it may just lay the foundation for Carney to spark Cronulla’s attack.
The Sharks will certainly have to score a few points if they are to match the Sea Eagles tonight.
Big names Tony Williams, Jamie Lyon, Brett Stewart, David Williams, Kieran Foran and Anthony Watmough are just some of the great attacking players that make up a formidable Manly attack.
Given what we have seen so far from both teams, it will only take strong performances from some of Manly’s stars to get the Sea Eagles home tonight.
Sea Eagles by 14.
Can the Sea Eagles shrug off the off-field salary cap issues and keep the Sharks winless? It’s an all-Sydney matchup on Monday night and we’ll have live commentary and a blog from the kick-off at 7.00pm AEDT, so if you’re watching or following along, make sure you give us a comment in the space below.