James Maloney recovered from a horror start in his first match for Cronulla to steer the Sharks to a 24-24 draw in an NRL trial match against Manly on Sunday.
In just the third minute in hot conditions at Shark Park, Maloney threw an intercept pass for Fabian Goodall who raced 30 metres to get Manly on the scoreboard.
The Sharks five-eighth, who moved from the Sydney Roosters in the off-season, bounced back to help his side to an 18-10 half-time lead before being given an early shower.
Maloney’s kicking game was outstanding and he combined well with new halves partner Chad Townsend – who has returned to the club after a stint with the Warriors – and fullback Jack Bird.
The Sharks got their first points when Sam Tagatese powered over from short range. Tagatese was among the Sharks’ best, making two first-half breaks – the second of which led to a Bird try.
Bird had a mixed audition for the No.1 jumper – he was beaten badly by Brayden Wiliame in the lead-up to the Sea Eagles fullback’s try however made up for it when he did well to hold up prop Brenton Lawrence early in the second half.
He also came up with a massive blunder when he spilled a bomb in the in-goal but dodged a bullet when he managed to ground it with the Sea Eagles chasers closing in on him.
The Sea Eagles hit the front through Daniel Vasek and Halauafu Lavaka for a 20-18 lead to Manly only for Valentine Holmes, who was shifted to fullback for Cronulla in the second half, to punch through a hole and score under the posts and put his side ahead again.
However Lavaka got his double with 90 seconds on the clock to level the scores but hooker Hugh Pratt missed the sideline conversion.