Ricky Leutele

It was a mix of the young guns and the new brigade for the Sharks and the mixture paid off, as the Cronulla side defeated the Manly Sea Eagles in their first trial for 2013, 24-12.

It was the Sharks with all the early running as they dominated the game, before the Sea Eagles mounted some stronger resistance in the second half, to bring some respectability into the scoreline.

Young Sharks back Ricky Leutele did himself no harm in being a possible inclusion for Rd 1, scoring two tries in the trial, which is sure to give Sharks coach Shane Flanagan some selection headaches come Rd 1.

Flanagan was pleased with the way his side defended overall, and was pleased to have come away from the game with no injuries to any of his players.

“Defensively we were strong, but in that second half we made 11 errors, which isn’t good enough,” Flanagan said.

“But it was a good hit out and it was also pleasing to come away without any injuries.”

One Sharks recruit that did not play in the game, Luke Lewis, was pleased to see his new side get the win, praising the efforts of certain players.

“Mate, it was outstanding. It was good to see some of the boys ripping in and having a good game, having a bit of fun,” said Lewis.

“I think a few guys there stood out really well – Ricky Leutele got across the line twice, Peachey [Tyrone Peachey] made a few breaks and I think Benny Ross and Tags [Sam Tagataese] laid the platform for us.”

For Manly, fielding some of their young guns early on, they could not match it with the Sharks intensity – but as the second half came along, it was the Sharks who made the errors as new recruits Dane Chisholm and Jacob Gagan played well, combining together for a try.

There was a slight injury scare to Manly’s halfback Daly Cherry Evans, but it is not believed to be anything overly serious.

“Bit of a scare over Cherry-Evans when he got that kick charged down, but I believe it’s just a cork, so touch wood that he’ll be alright for next week,” said Manly coach Geoff Toovey.

“I think it’s a little cork on his kneecap or something, so as I said, he’s pretty confident – it was a bit of a scare, but I think he’s pretty good.”

Despite the loss and a better second half showing, Toovey says he never really pays attention to trial form overall.

“I don’t make too much of the trials – I think last year the Sharkies [Cronulla Sharks] gave us a bit of a touch-up over there,” said Toovey.

“It was a good battle and I thought there was a lot of areas we need to improve on, and I’m sure Shane Flanagan thinks the same about them.

“It was just good having a run and just getting our timing right, catch and pass – there was a lot of sloppy ball out there, just loose balls and dropped ball and whatnot, but it’s a good thing to get it out of the way and we look forward to next week.”

With the first-half an opportunity for younger players to shine, some of which performed well, it was ultimately the second half in which Manly started to play better.

“There was a lot of young blokes out there so I was a bit disappointed in their performance, some of the individuals out there, but I thought being the young group of players they are, they’ve got to learn quickly,” said Toovey.

“I thought it was pretty much a good learning curve, a steep learning curve for them today in that first 20-40 minutes.”

By ricky

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