Mathews Cup Sharks suffer first loss
The Matthews Cup Sharks have suffered their first loss of the 2022 season in going down by 18-10 to the Sea Eagles.
After winning their first three games in impressive fashion, the Sharks didn't help themselves with errors and ill-discipline and couldn't match the aggression and enthusiasm of the Manly side.
Also hardly assisting their cause was the stop-start nature of the contest, with the referee consistently blowing time out and halting the momentum of both teams.
Manly started fast and were rewarded with the first two tries of the game, with the Sharks frustrated into errors and failing to mount any real pressure during the opening period in going to half time down by 12-0.
A third try to the Sea Eagles shortly after the break saw the visitors push their lead out to 18-0, with the Sharks now in a deep hole and needing to respond.
Showing the resolve that had seen them convincingly claim three wins to sit on top of the Matthews Cup table the Sharks battled back in earning good field position and soon after were able to post first points, five-eighth Ashton Simmonds dummying his way through some tiring Manly defense to plant the ball down under the uprights.
Fullback and skipper Chevy Stewart converted and the Sharks had given themselves some hope at 18-6 down.
Now playing on the front foot and with renewed confidence the Sharks went on the attack once more and again they managed to get across the stripe, Stewart slicing through following a slick exchange of passing and the Cronulla side had more reason to believe a comeback was possible at 18-10 behind with around seven minutes on the clock.
Unfortunately the kick at goal from a wide angle hit the upright and bounced away however the young Sharks now had a spring in their step.
More ill-discipline, including a penalty conceded while in possession, then another turnover for an incorrect play the ball, gave the football back to their opponents who would manage to hold on to record what was something of an upset result.
While overall it was a disappointing performance, Stewart at the back, interchange forward Max McCarthy and lock Alex Challenor were three players who could hold their heads high after producing wholehearted efforts.
Next up for the Matthews Cup Sharks, who slipped to second place with the loss, is a game against the Canberra Raiders on Saturday. That match will be played at PoinstBet Stadium.
Chevy Stewart, Ashton Simmonds tries, Stewart goal
See the Cronulla JRL action gallery from the match below.
Don't forget to also visit sharks.com.au for more news and photos about the Sharks and Sharks junior representative teams.
Pictures: Adam Wrightson
Want to download pictures? https://photos.app.goo.gl/ekkyHJy2vspiG56s8
Round 6 - Team List
Alex Challenor Interchange