Matt Moylan and Nicho Hynes combine to make short work of Manly

Matt Moylan’s return coincided with a superb attacking display from Cronulla as they beat Manly 40-6 to claim their first win at 4 Pines Park in over a decade.

The blowout doomed the Sea Eagles to their fifth straight loss as their season imploded at the end of the year. Cronulla, on the other hand, is on a run after they clinched their fourth straight win and established themselves in the top four.

Moylan marked his return from injury with an early try assist when he linked up with half-partner Nicho Hynes. His chip over the top put Tolutau Koula out of position at full-back and Hynes sped through to land under the post.

Cameron McInnes came on after just 10 minutes, replacing Dale Finucane. The former Storm star was plagued by a rib injury while limping down the tunnel.

The captain’s injury didn’t halt the Sharks’ momentum, however, as Royce Hunt worked his way across the line while carrying two Manly defenders with him.

Cronulla’s control in the ruck allowed them to play balls consistently quickly and break through the center of Manly’s defence. Their territorial advantage eventually led to their third try of the half when Moylan scored with his left foot.

Hynes then architected a flowing movement down the right as he threw a spectacular pass that went over the top of two teammates to send Matt Ikuvalu untouched into the corner.

The Sharks went into half-time with a 22-0 lead and it wasn’t long before they proved their advantage in the second verse.

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“The way we started stayed with us for most of the game,” Craig Fitzgibbon said after the game.

“There were a lot of good individual performances that were put together to form a good team.”

The Sharks coach gave special praise to Moylan, who didn’t miss a beat on his return.

“The training was built up very slowly,” reveals Fitzgibbon.

“He was super confident and did the proper training this week. He’s just in such a good place with himself and what our football requires.

“He compliments Nicho so well in the way he allows him to play his natural game, but he also comes up with some ideas of his own.”

Moylan proved that early in the second half when he combined again with Hynes. The No. 6 attacked the short side via Andrew Fifita, offloading the brace to send Hynes in for his second of the night.

Manly’s inability to lock the ball resulted in them being penalized by the Sharks in the second period. Fitzgibbons men recorded 18 offloads while the Sea Eagles limited to just six in a statement win.

“We’ve talked about when you get into a position, you have to finish off the opposition,” Fitzgibbon said.

“That’s what we did. We still had some loose parts – you’re not going to make the game quite your way – but for the most part we controlled how we wanted to play and were really competitive everywhere.”

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