Johnny Mannah Cup: NRL Match Report & Highlights

The Pirtek Parramatta Eels have defeated the Cronulla Sharks 13-6 to post their second win of the NRL season in the inaugural Johnny Mannah Cup at Parramatta Stadium.


In an emotion charged pre-game ceremony members of the Mannah family unveiled the Blue and Gold Army flag, then players from both sides faced the Ken Thornett Stand as the crowd offered a touching 'moment of applause' to celebrate the life of the late Johnny Mannah.


Parramatta appeared to draw on that emotion and used it in a very positive fashion in the opening 40 minutes by taking a 10-6 lead into the break. Centre Ryan Morgan scored a first half double as the Eels made the most of a stack of possession, while Cronulla scored a freakish try off the cross-bar to fullback Michael Gordon.


The second half didn't reach any great heights as a spectacle with the only points coming through a penalty goal to Chris Sandow - following a push and shove between Sharks' skipper Paul Gallen and Eels' enforcer Fuifui Moimoi, and a late field goal to Luke Kelly.


Eels' game breakers Chris Sandow and Jarryd Hayne looked to have rediscovered their confidence and touch as five-eighth Kelly's kicking game lifted the team throughout the match. Rookie forward Kelepi Tanginoa showed why he's player of the future with some impressive hit-ups in his first game in the run-on side, while crowd favourite Moimoi also delivered several of his trademark bullocking runs.


Coach Ricky Stuart was very pleased with the sharp turnaround in form from his team after last week's hammering against the Roosters.


"The entire side turned it around from this week, it wasn't a couple of players but the entire side lifted," he said.


Club captain Tim Mannah admits emotion did play its part in the victory.


"Tonight was a special night. I'm so grateful for both clubs for what they've put on, my family's very humbled and overwhelmed," he said.


There won't be much time for celebrating as the Eels face a tough away game next Sunday night when they travel to the Gold Coast to meet the Titans.


Parramatta Eels 13 (Ryan Morgan 2 tries; Chris Sandow 2 goals, Luke Kelly field goal)

Cronulla Sharks 6 (Michael Gordon try; Michael Gordon goal)


Crowd: 11,063