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Sharks score a solid trial win

The Sharks have scored a morale-boosting 28-16 win over the Sea Eagles in their last hit out before the start of the 2020 NRL season. 

Scoring first the Sharks were never headed, with most of the staring side sitting on the sidelines, an inexperienced side holding on the final minutes to register the victory. 

 

The win sends the Sharks into round one with a measure of confidence, while also giving coach John Morris a few selection headaches, with a handful of the youngsters impressive on the night, none more so that Connor Tracey who managed two tries, front rower Toby Rudolf and Sione Katoa who was a handful for the Manly defence out on the flank.

Following a week off the Sharks tackle Souths in their season opener at ANZ Stadium on March 14.  

Manly had the better of the early exchanges, helped by five penalties against the Sharks in the first 15 minutes of the match, however the Cronulla defence held firm, turning away repeated attacking raids and for their efforts they would be rewarded at the other end of the field. 

Following a scrum near half way the Sharks opened the scoring, a Jack Williams line break, backed up by five eighth Tracey resulting in first points. 

Chad Townsend converted and the Sharks had a 6-0 lead 20 minutes into the contest. 

The Sharks made some changes at the quarter time drinks break however they maintained the momentum but against the run of play it would be the Sea Eagles who would level the score. 

 Exploiting some tired defence hooker Danny Levi burrowed over from dummy half and after the simple conversion it was 6-all 33 minutes into the first half.  

Just when it appeared the teams would go to half time with the scores locked, the Sharks had other ideas, with only seconds remaining a Townsend kick would rebound into the hands of Katoa, the winger finding Josh Morris in support for their second try of the afternoon. 

From a wide angle Townsend was unable to convert and it was 10-6 Sharks at the break. 

The Sharks returned for the second half with plenty of intensity and after just three minutes Rudolf would run through a yawning gap to score, with Townsend converting to make it 16-6 and two minutes later looked to have extended that advantage, only for Mawene Hiroti to be tackled into touch with the try line in sight. 

Manly would respond with a try out wide and after the failed conversion attempt it was 16-10 but the Sharks then skipped further in front, young front rower Franklin Pele crashing through close to the posts to push the lead out to 22-10. 

After a couple of repeat sets and a lucky kick recovery Manly narrowed the gap to six points, but the young Sharks side finished the stronger, Tracey scoring his second, the local junior beating two tacklers after backing up a clever short side play and collecting a Vito Tevaga cross field kick. 

Hiroti completed the scoring, making it 28-18 Sharks with his kick at goal.  

In another positive to come from the night, no injuries were reported, with Shaun Johnson, who missed the game with a virus, expected to be back on deck next week. 

 

SHARKS 28
Connor Tracey 2, Josh Morris, Franklin Pele, Toby Rudolf tries, Chad Townsend 2, Mawene Hiroti 2 goals
beat
MANLY 16