1. Manly’s defence proved up to the task.
With the Sharks holding 60% of possession and 72% of the game played in the Manly half, it’s hard not to argue that Manly’s work without the ball showed why they are renowned as one of the most dogged teams in the NRL.
Asked to make more than 100 more tackles than the Sharks, Manly managed to restrain the Cronulla side and came out on top at the full-time siren.
2. Paul Gallen continued to lead from the front.
26 carries for 189m, 4 offloads – including one that lead to a try – and 18 tackles, the Sharks captain put in another trademark performance on the verge of the NRL finals.
If the Sharks are to go on and record a win against the Rabbitohs next Sunday, Gallen will need the support of his fellow big men in order to bend back the big South Sydney defensive line.
3. Holmes’ denied try would’ve been a season best.
Leaping into action in the act of defusing a bomb, just seconds later Valentine Holmes saw daylight after Luke Lewis collected a loose ball and magically linked with the flying winger.
Holmes streaked away for what would have been his 17th try this season – having already seen the video referee’s ‘red lights’ earlier in the afternoon – but only for the man upstairs to rule that there was a knock on in the lead up and to call back the razzle-dazzle play.
4. Ill-discipline at key moments costs the Sharks momentum.
All too often in the modern game does a penalty lead to the conceding of points, or the opposition earning another set of six.
On Sunday afternoon, penalties at vital moments – not least the one on the stroke of half-time – saw the Sharks put on the back foot, and the side was hurt as Kieran Foran opted to take two decisive penalty goals.
5. 2 points that cost ‘2 points’, costs two places on the NRL Ladder.
As is the close nature of the NRL competition, the Sharks’ 2-point loss to Manly saw the side surrender the opportunity to move to fourth, and as the Bulldogs won across town against the Warriors, Cronulla fell to sixth on the NRL ladder.
The side will now gear up for a meeting with the Rabbitohs at the Allianz Stadium, with Shane Flanagan and his staff urging Sharks fans to make the trip into the city and to turn the SFS black, white and blue next weekend.