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Tom Trbojevic masterclass leads Manly to win over Cronulla Sharks

A Tom Trbojevic hat-trick in just 10 minutes has steered Manly to a 40-22 win over Cronulla in a fiery clash at Suncorp Stadium.

It was total domination from ‘Turbo’ as he turned a tight contest from 16-10 at halftime into one-way traffic and a comfortable Sea Eagles victory.

Just after the break, the classy fullback stepped, weaved, accelerated and fended on his way to three sublime tries while making an enthusiastic Sharks defence look very ordinary.

Turbo’s stats were extraordinary: three tries, three try assists, 217 run metres, 14 tackle breaks, three line breaks and four line break assists. And when he’d led Manly to an unassailable 40-10 lead, coach Des Hasler got his star fullback off the field for the last 10 minutes.

And perhaps not surprisingly, the Sharks then proceeded to cross for two tries when Turbo was off.

It was also Trbojevic’s third hat-trick of the season to lift him to 18 tries in 2021 and despite having played just 11 NRL games this year because of an early-season hamstring injury, his standout performance only strengthens his favouritism for the Dally M Medal.

Perhaps the only negative for the Sea Eagles came in the last few minutes when forward Taniela Paseka was sin-binned for tripping Sharks back Luke Metcalf.

He looks likely to cop an NRL judiciary charge that would jeopardise his place in Manly’s next game and biggest test against top-of-the-table Melbourne Storm, with the Sea Eagles still in the hunt for a precious top-four finish.

Cronulla forward Toby Rudolf will also come under the microscope for a headbutt on Manly Reuben Garrick. Rudolf was also sent to the bin for 10 minutes.

It wasn’t the only time that tempers flared in an at-times spiteful clash.

Will Chambers was particularly vocal, noticeably targeting Manly’s Dylan Walker with a string of verbal sprays – and also a massive front-on hit on Walker.

Jason Saab produced another spectacular highlight for the Eagles when he scored the opening try with an acrobatic one-handed finish in the right-hand corner.

Trbojevic then created another four-pointer for Saab a few minutes later then played a hand in Morgan Harper’s try soon after.

But Cronulla showed plenty of verve to fight back with tries to Will Kennedy and Braydon Trindall before the break.

Cronulla dropped to eighth spot on the ladder after Gold Coast beat Canterbury earlier tonight.

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