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Cronulla Sharks continue dismal record at Manly

April 13, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) — The touted “battle of the beaches” in Australia’s National Rugby League on Sunday turned out to be a runaway win for the Manly Sea Eagles.

Manly beat Cronulla 24-4 after leading 20-0 at halftime, extending the Sharks’ dismal record at Brookvale Oval where they’ve won just five of 37 matches since 1967.

Manly and Cronulla are two of Sydney’s best-known beaches behind the world-famous Bondi. The Sea Eagles are 4-2 and the Sharks 1-5 to sit at opposite ends of the standings.

In the other match Sunday, halfback Trent Hodkinson kicked a field goal with two minutes remaining to give Canterbury a 21-20 win over the New Zealand Warriors at Auckland’s Eden Park.

It spoiled the debut of Warriors’ interim coach Andrew McFadden following the surprise firing of Matthew Elliott last week.

The Gold Coast Titans were in first place after the round, beating Queensland rivals Brisbane 12-8 for their fifth win in six matches.

It was just the second time in 10 matches — and the first time in two years — that the Titans beat the Broncos.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright could not explain why his team was in first place despite leading the league in errors and being third worst in completion rates.

“I don’t know, but the players are working very hard and achieving something that can’t be seen on the stat sheet,” he said.

South Sydney beat Penrith 18-2. Nathan Merritt set a Souths record with the 145th try of his career, breaking Benny Wearing’s club mark that had stood since 1933.

Merritt said it was a relief after not having crossed for a four-pointer since last season’s semifinal defeat to Manly.

“It’s a great feeling, I’ve waited two months to do it,” Merritt said. “It was a great buzz.”

On Saturday, Newcastle scored all the second-half points in a 26-12 win over Canberra after the teams were level 12-12 at halftime, Parramatta edged the Sydney Roosters 14-12 and Wests Tigers beat North Queensland 16-4.

Melbourne plays St. George Illawarra to conclude the sixth round on Monday.

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