By Nathan Beuman
The NSW Cup Sharks have secured their first win in a month, taking down the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38-10 in their round six clash at Brookvale Oval.
Boasting a number of first graders in their run on lineup, including Eric Grothe Jr, Daniel Holdsworth and George Rose, the Sharks led from the outset in wet and windy conditions.
Cronulla scored the first points of the afternoon, when a short ball from Daniel Holdsworth found Junior Roqica, who crashed his way over the top of two Manly defenders in the 9th minute.
Kurt Mann converted, giving the Sharks an early 6-0 lead.
Manly were quick to hit back though when Tom Symonds showed some fancy footwork to get the ball down in the right hand corner.
Manaia Rudolph was unable to concert the kick from out wide, leaving the scores at 6-4 after 13 minutes.
Next points came when a ball over the top from Holdsworth found an unmarked Jacob Gagan on the right edge, extending the Sharks lead out to 10-4, before a break from Josh Portlock down the right hand edge put Holdsworth into open space, the half back stepping the fullback to dive over under the posts with 15 minutes remaining in the half.
Mann converted the try, giving the visitors a 16-4 lead.
Jacob Gagan was in for his second with eight minutes remaining in the half, when Portlock somehow managed to get a ball away despite two defenders hanging off him and when Mann was unable to convert the try, the score remained at 20-4.
A short ball out of dummy half from Michael Lichaa connected with David Fifita, who charged over the top of the Manly defender three minutes before the break, extending the lead out to 26-4 following the conversion from in front.
Courtesy of a penalty from the kickoff, Cronulla went straight back on attack, Fifita getting the ball away to five-eighth Ben Hampton who crossed just to the right of the uprights, with Mann adding the extras to take the lead out to 32-4 on the stroke of half time.
With the rain getting heavier neither side was able to add to their score in the first period of the second half and it took a deft little grubber from Manly’s Masada Iosefa into the in goal to break the stalemate when Todd Wilson dove on the loose ball to touch down.
Rudolph kicked the easy conversion, putting the scores at 32-10 with a quarter of the game remaining.
A darting 20-metre run out of dummy half from Penani Manumaleali had Cronulla in for their first and only try of the second half to seal the win, Mann successfully knocking over the extras, with the final scoreline 38-10 in favour of the Sharks.
In a feature of the match the game also represented the debut of Mark Mexico, with the PNG international impressive with his strong charges with the football and his uncompromising defense.
Mexico partnered with David Fifita and George Rose up front, with trio giving the opposition more than they could handle on the day.
The Sharks are back at home next weekend, when they take on the Newtown Jets at 5:15pm on Saturday at Remondis Stadium.
Jacob Gagan 2, Penani Manumalealii, David Fifita, Ben Hampton, Daniel Holdsworth, Junior Roqica tries, Kurt Mann 5 goals