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Manly winger Jorge Taufua stars on return in win over Cronulla Sharks

Manly 24 d Cronulla 4

Origin bolter? Jorge Taufua impressed in his return on the wing for Manly.

Origin bolter? Jorge Taufua impressed in his return on the wing for Manly. Photo: Getty Images

On the day that NSW potentially lost their hooker Robbie Farah, the Blues received a much needed boost after Jorge Taufua made an outstanding return to the field and put his hand up for the Blues vacant wing spot as he scored a try in Manly’s 24-4 win against Cronulla.

Taufua, 22, hadn’t played since dislocating his shoulder in a pre-season match but celebrated his return with a blistering performance. At half-time, he had made 116 metres from four carries – with Andrew Fifita Cronulla’s best with 45 metres from five hit-ups. Taufua, who is close to finalising a three-year extension at the club, finished with a game high of 126 metres and three tackle breaks.

 “After a few more games building my confidence at club level,” Taufua said of his Origin chances. “If my form is good enough I think I’ll be confident if I got the call up.

Manly versus Cronulla
View Match Statistics
Players Matai(2), Lawrence, Taufua, Hiku Tries 5 Tries 1 Players Graham
Players Lyon 2/5 (40%) Conversions 2 Conversions 0 Players Gordon 0/1 (0%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

“I would love to put on a Blues jersey.  Second half I was down on myself. There were a lot of opportunities to put on points but too many errors.”

With Jarryd Hayne likely to play fullback or in the centres, Taufua joins Akuila Uate and James McManus in a battle to partner incumbent Brett Morris on the Blues' flank. His return relegated former Blues winger David Williams to NSW Cup with Peta Hiku retaining his spot in the top grade, switching to the right wing.

One blemish on Taufua’s performance was being run down by Cronulla prop Sam Tagataese after running 60 metres after taking an intercept on his goal line.

“He is pretty quick but there is no excuse,” Taufua said. “I have to work on some speed. [Anthony Watmough] won’t let it go. I don’t know if he’ll ever get over it.”

Brett Stewart did his chances of an Origin recall no harm after setting up three tries in his best performance of the season.

While Manly’s back three were outstanding, it was a match to forget for potential NSW half Todd Carney. Sporting a bleached buzz cut, Carney failed to find his rhythm behind a dominated forward pack, with multiple forward passes, an erratic kicking game evoking memories of Andrew Johns’ short-lived orange hairstyle.

A week after being ambushed by a ferocious Wests Tigers forward pack, the Sea Eagles big men ensured that wouldn’t be repeated in front of 9064 people at Brookvale Oval. Manly’s wingers combined instantly with Hiku defusing a bomb before passing to Taufua, who raced up the field and handed a pass to Steve Matai to allow the centre to open the scoring after three minutes.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey was encouraged by Taufua’s performance.

“It was a good confidence booster for him,” Toovey said. “Jorge and David [Williams] were top try-scorers last year. David had been going OK for us. Hiku had been playing really well, and I have him to cover as fullback with Brett’s injury.”

Manly raced to a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes. Two nearly identical sweeping plays with a block runner fooled Cronulla’s defence, resulting in tries to Taufua and Matai for the home side to give Manly a 20-0 lead at half-time.          

“It was a really good turnaround defensively with our energy this week,’ Toovey said. “It was a big change from last week.”

A Carney forward pass helped end the second half stalemate with the Sea Eagles scoring from the next set when Hiku crossed in the corner in the 54th minute to extend Manly’s lead by four. The Sea Eagles second half was patchy with 12 errors – eight more than their first half

“Todd wasn’t quite at his best,” Cronulla coach Peter Sharp said. “He needed some help but we didn’t give him that.”

Wade Graham scored Cronulla’s only try in the dying stages of the game.

10 comments so far

  • 9,000 fans at Brookvale, what a farce. Over 25,000 watching the AFL game across the bridge. If the NRL doesn't cut loose non-supported, near-bankrupt teams like Manly, Wests and Cronulla, they will be extinct in 5 years. No one will even know they're gone!

    AFL of The Real Footy Code
    Date and time
    April 13, 2014, 8:54PM
    • 25000 Melbournians visiting Sydney.
      Sydneysiders have better things to do than watch Victorian football.

      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 9:36PM
    • @ Ben - not true. Most of the big crowd were Swans fanatics. What a shame there are almost no Manly or Sharks fans. Relocate - or perish, you failed NRL teams!

      AFL of The Real Footy Code
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 11:00PM
    • C'mon Ben, AFL fans are clearly both very insecure about their own code, hence them coming into NRL stories to try and gain some attention for their little regional game and at the same time very concerned about NRL hence their attempts at helpful suggestions for the NRL.

      We should pity them, for both the doubt they have in their chosen code to be successful without their childish school-yard attempts to gain extra attention and their well meaning but ultimately poorly thought out suggestions to help the NRL, not make fun of them.

      Bear Hunter
      Date and time
      April 14, 2014, 10:03AM
    • I've been told by AFL people that going to the game is a million times better than watching it on TV because you can see everything that is going on.

      Where as league is a much better product for television (read any article about the top rating sports events year after year after year).

      There is no superior code, each to their own, just one is terrible to watch on TV so you are more likely to go to the game and the other is fantastic to watch on TV so you are less likely to go to the ground. Sad but true.

      Mostly Harmless
      Pale Blue Dot
      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 9:40AM
    • whats AFL?
      serious question i've never ever heard of it

      Date and time
      April 15, 2014, 2:55PM
  • I tried to watch a game of AFL god I was bored!

    Dee Why
    Date and time
    April 13, 2014, 10:13PM
    • Who cares about AFL? You poor fellow - desperate to put a pro-AFL quote on here. We are too busy enjoying the NRL to bother with the AFL. Says it all really.

      Paul Murphy
      Date and time
      April 13, 2014, 11:22PM
      • It was 9,000 people on a day with fairly ordinary weather down the northern beaches. Lack of undercover seating will always keep people away on such days. Given the fact it was on TV 60 minutes after the start and it was pretty much over I can see why the supporters stayed away plus why would a sharkie travel that far on such an ordinary day. All in all not a good game to study why the crowds were this low. Throw people away on school hols and well .......

        Manly Leagues
        Date and time
        April 14, 2014, 4:56PM
        • Not to mention a top team playing dead last. Considering the weather I think 9,000 is a decent turnout.

          Mostly Harmless
          Pale Blue Dot
          Date and time
          April 15, 2014, 9:36AM

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