Sea Eagles spring upset on Sharks
THEY are the Manly misfits, a motley collection of unwanted players just wanting a chance - and some lovin'.
There was the kid on debut, Cade Cust. Then there's Brendan Elliot at fullback, centre Brad Parker, winger Reuben Garrick and halfback Kane Elgey.
One player manager reckons their total salary cap worth would be around $600,000 to $650,000 - pittance compared to the glamorous Roosters and Rabbioths backline.
And you can throw in bench players Jack Gosiewski, Corey Waddell and Morgan Boyle. They aren't well known but, boy, they are having a go.
Coach Des Hasler's side continued to shock rugby league with a 24-14 win over Cronulla at Pointsbet Stadium on Sunday.
Victory gave the Sea Eagles a sixth win this season and further entrenched them inside the NRL top eight. They are scrapping together, working together, playing for each other.
Aka the Mad Scientist, Hasler is weaving another spell over there at Brookvale.
Hasler pulled a pre-game swifty by elevating young half Cade Cust into his starting side for Lachlan Croker.
Cust, a member of Manly's 2017 NYC premiership-winning side, was cheeky and effective on debut.
When coming through the grades at Brookvale, Cust, from Scone, stayed with Matty Johns on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
This is Cust's first season on a full-time contract. Hasler kept Cust's elevation secret until an hour before kick-off.
Cust showed plenty of nous to catch a kick-off from Cronulla and pushed his foot over the dead ball line, ensuring Manly a penalty. He had a brief flare up with Fifita - a sign the kid isn't afraid to confront the big guys.
Meanwhile, the NRL's milestone club has a new member - Cronulla's Andrew Fifita.
The giant Shark played his 200th game on Sunday - a wonderful achievement for a man who plays tough each week in the middle.
He overcame a hamstring injury to play, desperate to play the big game at home.
Fifita entered the field with his children and through a massive banner celebrating the special moment.
It was his 161st match for Cronulla, the other 39 being played with Wests Tigers.
Re-elected Prime Minister Scott Morrison celebrated an LNP election victory by attending Sunday's big match.
ScoMo was introduced to the crowd to strong applause. Sitting on the eastern side of Pointsbet Stadium, Morrison, when introduced, stood, waved, gave a thumbs-up and waved a Sharks scarf above his head.
The giant screen read: Congratulations Scott Morrison.
Wearing a Cronulla cap and holding a beer, Morrison was later spotted in the Sharks dressing room. There was also a minute's silence to remember former PM Bob Hawke, who died last week.
Manly star Dylan Walker wasn't made to feel overly welcome on his return to rugby league.
Each time Walker, acquitted last week of domestic violence charges, touched the ball, he was booed and jeered by the Sharks faithful.
The crowd actually cheered when Walker stayed down injured in the 17th minute. It was Walker who laughed last though, scoring a try in the fifth minute of the second half.
Manly and Cronulla played for the Steve Rogers Cup on Sunday, a trophy presented at fulltime to Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson by one of Steve's sons, Don.
"Steve Rogers was an absolute champion," said Thompson.
MANLY 24 (K Elgey B Elliot A Fonua-Blake D Walker tries R Garrick 4 goals) bt CRONULLA 14 (S Feki B Hamlin-Uele B Xerri tries K Flanagan goal) at PointsBet Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 13,360