The Roar
The Roar


Manly hold off fast finishing Sharks 24-18

20th September, 2013

Manly have earned a third crack at taking down South Sydney after a Daly Cherry-Evans masterclass and John Morris brain snap lifted the Sea Eagles to a 24-18 win over Cronulla in Friday night’s NRL semi-final.

Running on empty for much of the second half, the Sea Eagles held on to set up a preliminary final against the Rabbitohs next Friday – with the grand final awaiting the winner.

They never trailed with Cherry-Evans the star scoring one try and setting up two others with precise kicks – but it was the intervention of Sharks hooker Morris which proved just as crucial – with his actions denying what would have been a match-levelling try to skipper Paul Gallen with seven minutes remaining.

Gallen charged over from 10 metres out to set the Sharks contingent in the disappointing 23,837-strong crowd into raptures, only for pocket referee Ashley Klein to spot Morris taking out Matt Ballin at marker.

Gallen was in disbelief as Shayne Hayne sent the decision up to the video referee.

“Are you serious? I beat five blokes,” Gallen said.

The Sharks came again but it was appropriate that Cherry-Evans ended up with the ball to stop Cronulla’s final charge, the absence of the injured Todd Carney hurting the underdogs as they struggled with their last-play options.

Still they were in the game until the last second against the wilting Sea Eagles, who face a monumental task backing up against the Rabbitohs in seven days.

Cherry-Evans’ kicks led to first-half tries for Anthony Watmough and Kieran Foran, sandwiched around a Michael Gordon four-pointer on a rare foray down the opposition end for the Sharks.


Jorge Taufua took the Sea Eagles out to a comfortable 18-6 lead just after the restart, but there was plenty of controversy over the put-down with the hulking winger appearing to lose the ball as he crashed through four defenders.

The video referee deemed there was insufficient evidence to take away the try, but the Sharks were not down for long, Andrew Fifita showing once again there was plenty of finesse to the wrecking ball approach as he athletically put down a Jeff Robson grubber just before the dead-ball line.

Cherry-Evans crossed for what would prove the match-clincher on the hour, with Johnathan Wright’s solo effort five minutes later getting the Sharks close but not close enough.