Sharks and Manly bow out of NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks and Manly bow out of NRL

By Laine Clark 11/09/2005 07:51:45 PM Comments (0)

And then there were six.

Lowly Cronulla and Manly went out swinging against top two outfits St George Illawarra and Parramatta respectively as Wests Tigers and Melbourne made strong title claims in the NRL's opening finals this weekend.

But North Queensland and Brisbane pulled off the great escape as they went through to next weekend's semi-finals as the lucky losers.

When the dust settled, Melbourne booked a clash with North Queensland on Saturday and surprise packet Wests Tigers were locked in against the Broncos on Sunday - both at Aussie Stadium.

The winners take on the Eels and Dragons respectively in the preliminary finals in a fortnight.

The Cowboys get a second chance after being blown away 50-6 by the Tigers last Friday night thanks to a record 30-point haul by fullback Brett Hodgson while Brisbane held on despite going down 24-18 at home to Melbourne on Saturday night.

The Dragons were kept honest before knocking out Cronulla 28-22 at Wollongong on Saturday night while the Eels received a second half scare in its 46-22 win over Manly at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday, after leading 28-0 at halftime.

However, injuries may yet prove a difference to the finals campaigns of two teams - Melbourne and Parramatta.

The Storm is sweating on the fitness of former Test prop Robbie Kearns (dislocated shoulder) and ex-Queensland fullback Billy Slater (ankle).

And Parramatta coach Brian Smith was keeping his fingers crossed his side would keep winning in order to keep alive the chance of Test backrower Nathan Hindmarsh (knee) playing again this season.

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