Trial match - Sharks v Manly - final
Friday 8 February 2013 3:12 PM
The Sharks young guns, with a sprinkling of the old heads thrown in, strutted their stuff in an impressive opening half before the likes of Michael Gordon, Beau Ryan and Jonathan Wright ran out for their first match in Sharks colours in the second 40 minutes in the Sharks first trial for 2013.
The first half saw the Sharks score five times in a strong attacking display however a series of second half errors failed to impress coach Shane Flanagan as his team did enough to claim the honours by 24-12.
The Sharks enjoyed a clear dominance in the opening period before the second stanza saw Manly capitalise on their opponents mistakes in scoring two tries to one.
Overall the team put in a defensive effort that would please the coach, who was also relieved his side managed to complete the match injury free.
“Defensively we were strong, but in that second half we made 11 errors, which isn’t good enough,” Flanagan said. “But it was a good hit out and it was also pleasing to come away without any injuries.”
Led by Ricky Leutele out wide and with Ben Ross and Sam Tagataese setting the platform in the middle of the field, the Sharks showed plenty of skill and enterprise in the first half.
The Sharks were on song early, with lock Tyrone Peachey slicing through and looking likely to score in the first set of six and while a last ditch Manly tackle denied him it wouldn’t take long for the Sharks to post first points. On the back of some clever play from fullback Nathan Gardner the Sharks went 80 metres for what was an exciting way to open the scoring.
Shortly after the Sharks added to their tally when new recruit Tupou Sopoaga brushed off a would-be defender and ran 15 metres to score wide out, then from the kickoff the Sharks again had Manly on the back foot following a strong charge from front rower Tagataese. From the next play Peachey strode through some threadbare defense before running 25 metres to score under the uprights.
The Sharks then made it four tries when Leutele won the race to the ball in the in goal following a well-weighted Penani Manumalealii grubber kick and while Manly bounced back with a try wide out, a fifth Sharks score, this time to hard running backrower Junior Roqica, made it five tries in all in a strong first half effort.
The second half began in similar fashion when a John Morris cross kick was plucked from the air by new recruit Ryan, who with his second touch of the ball in a Sharks jersey touched down in the corner with just centimetres to spare.
The final 20 minutes of the contest saw both teams substitute some of their more established stars and taking advantage of a series of Sharks errors Manly would cross the line twice to bring some respectability to the scoreboard.
For the Sharks Leutele, Peachey, Isaac De Gois and Gardner impressed in the first half, while Gordon, Ryan and centre Jonathan Wright did enough in their deut matches for the Cronulla club to suggest they will add plenty to the Sharks this season.
The Sharks can now look forward to their second and final trial in Tamworth on February 23 against Newcastle, in a match that should see the return of Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Chris Heighington, Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita.
Sharks trial team - second half
Isaac De Gois