The Steve Rogers Cup will be proudly displayed at the Sharks new home base of the Kareela Golf Club when the doors officially open tomorrow following an impressive 40-22 victory over the Sea Eagles.
In claiming the annual trophy match for the first time since 2016, the Sharks were dominant in the first half in taking an 18-6 lead, before going on with the job in the second stanza in the seven tries to four win.
Challenging themselves to match the big Manly forward pack, the likes of Toby Rudolf, Andrew Fifita and Braden Hamlin-Uele got the better of their opponents, with the job done in the middle of the field paving the way for the Cronulla win.
Backing up the victory over the Bulldogs the week prior, the win leaves the Sharks on the outside looking in, but well and truly back in the race for a top eight berth.
The Sharks weathered an early storm and following their first repeat set of the afternoon for a play the ball indiscretion were able to open their account, Hamlin-Uele crashing through two defenders to touch down adjacent to the posts.
Shaun Johnson converted and it was 6-0 Sharks 15 minutes into the first half.
A couple of errors and a high tackle penalty put Manly on the attack soon after and while the Sharks managed to defend two sets on their line, a shift of ball to the left caught the Cronulla side short, Jorge Taufua crossing wide out.
The Sea Eagles were unable to add the extras, however they would level the scores when Rueben Garrick kicked a simple penalty goal but the combination of Johnson and Sione Katoa put the Sharks back in front soon after, the five eighth kicking for his winger who made no mistake in picking up the ball and planting it down in the south-western corner of Central Coast Stadium.
The Johnson converted and his team was again six in front and now playing with confidence the Sharks would go back on the attack and when Matt Moylan, drifting across field, found a hard running Jesse Ramien it was 16-6 with just two minutes left in the first half.
Johnson chipped over the simple kick at goal and the Cronulla side went to the break with a handy 18-6 advantage.
Now with the wind and rain at their backs the Sharks began the second period in the best possible fashion, the forwards charging through the middle of the field and on the end of their first set of the half a Townsend grubber was gathered by Josh Dugan and it was 22-6 with the kick to come.
Johnson didn't disappoint with the kick from a wide angle and at 24-6 the Sharks were in control.
With their foot well and truly on the throat of their opponent it only took five minutes for the Sharks to add further to their total and it was another of those spectacular Katoa efforts, the winger miraculously getting the ball down centimetres from the corner post after good lead up from Townsend.
Manly scored through some defence the coach would have been less than pleased with, Addin Foua-Blake backing up a Jake Trbojevic line break, but a Blayke Brailey try after a kick rebound put the result beyond doubt.
The Sharks released the pressure somewhat in the final 10 minutes, two Manly tries narrowing the final margin, but it was a convincing victory and an important one in the context of the 2020 season with Cronulla now within striking distance of the top eight.
There were a host of outstanding performers for the Sharks on the day, none better that Johnson, who with three try assists remains at the top of the NRL statistical list, Townsend was a solid ally in the halves laying on a couple of four pointers himself and Rudolf continues to impress in the forwards.
The Sharks now have a six-day turnaround until their next match with a game against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.
15 mins - Hamlin-Uele try, Johnson goal - Sharks 6-0
21 mins - Taufua try - Sharks 6-4
25 mins - Garrick goal - 6-all
31 mins - Katoa try, Johnson goal - Sharks 12-6
38 mins - Ramien try, Johnson goal - Sharks 18-6
41 mins - Dugan try, Johnson goal - Sharks 24-6
50 mins - Goodwin try - Sharks 28-6
55 mins - Katoa try, Johnson goal - Sharks 34-6
60 mins - Fonua-Blake try, Garrick goal - Sharks 34-12
64 mins - Brailey try, Johnson goal - Sharks 40-12
72 mins - Fonua-Blake try, Garrick goal - Sharks 40-18
77 mins - Funa try - Sharks 40-22
Sione Katoa 2, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Jesse Ramien, Blayke Brailey, Bryson Goodwin, Josh Dugan tries, Shaun Johnson 6 goals
SEA EAGLES 22
Addin Fonua-Blake 2, Tevita Funa,Jorge Taufua tries, Rueben Garrick 3 goals