Manly have broken through for their first NRL win under coach Trent Barrett, but could be without star forward Martin Taupau for an extended period after he was put on report for a high shot on Cronulla’s Jack Bird.
The Sea Eagles defeated the Sharks 22-12 at Brookvale Oval on Monday night before 5,122 fans in the final game of the NRL’s third round, as Cronulla extended their terrible record at the suburban venue.
Taupau was put on report for a 33rd minute high tackle on Bird and appears set for a significant stint on the sidelines.
The former Wests Tigers enforcer has a poor judiciary record after he was suspended for three matches last year for a swinging arm on then-Sydney Roosters playmaker James Maloney.
Bird left the field due to concussion and didn’t return.
Cronulla totally dominated early, notching up eight points through a Luke Lewis try and a penalty goal and conversion to Maloney. It was nine and a half minutes before Manly touched the ball.
With Brett Stewart playing his first game of the year after overcoming a hamstring injury, Manly looked more threatening in attack.
The home side finally found their range in the 37th minute through hooker Matt Parcell, Jamie Lyon’s conversion creating the halftime score of 8-6.
When Stewart scored his 87th try in 95 games at Brookie in the 48th minute Manly hit the front for the first time in the match.
They pulled further ahead when Jake Trbojevic burrowed his way over from close range to lead 18-8.
Sharks winger Valentine Holmes had a quiet game, but he crossed out wide in the 65th minute to bring the visitors back into the contest.
But Tom Trbojevic shrugged off Ben Barba to join his brother on the tryscorers’ list in the 73rd minute to seal the win for Manly.
Cronulla’s poor record at Brookvale has extended to just five wins in 39 matches since 1967.