Moroko hat trick seals NYC win
Sunday 22 July 2012 1:45 PM
NYC ROUND 20 RESULT
CRONULLA SHARKS 36
(D Moroko 3, M Lichaa 2, J Hasson, P Manumalealii Tries; J Walsh 4/7 Goals)
CANBERRA RAIDERS 28
(S Lienesch, M Allwood, J Bradley, A Milford, E Lee Tries; A Milford 4/5 Goals)
At Toyota Stadium.
The young Cronulla Sharks have posted a brilliant 36-28 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Toyota Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A hat trick to outside back Daniel Moroko and two tries to hooker Michael Lichaa were the highlights of a quality game, which saw the momentum shift several times.
The Raiders suffered an early blow, when second rower Scott Doyle left the field injured just nine minutes in.
It took some time for both sides to warm to the contest, with the Sharks denied a try on the line early, and they would be punished, as 12 minutes in Anthony Milford showed a nice step to break right through the line before linking up with Simon Lienesch who scored.
A break from Josh Lambert moments later got the Sharks back on the front foot, and they earned a repeat set, but it wouldn’t result in points.
The Sharks were controlling possession deep in the Canberra half, but just couldn’t crack the Raiders’ defence. That was until the 21st minute when Lichaa dived over from dummy half next to the posts, with Jake Walsh converting to level the scores at 6-all.
The Sharks were finally beginning to turn their dominance in the game into points, spreading the ball from right to left for Moroko to finish in the corner, giving the home side a slender 10-6 lead after 28 minutes.
Canberra were beginning to tire with the sheer amount of defence required, and an uncharacteristic mistake from Edrick Lee handed the ball back to the Sharks. And they capitalised, with a try to James Hasson extending their lead to 16-6 headed into halftime.
It seemed as though the second half would mirror the first, with the Sharks being handed quality field position early on. That’s all that Penani Manumalealii needed, showing great skill and individual strength to score his side’s fourth of the match, just three minutes into the second stanza.
But the Raiders weren’t about to lie down, with Matthew Allwood running a great line to keep the Raiders in the contest. Milford’s conversion was successful, closing the margin to 10.
And when Mitchell Cornish spotted Joseph Bradley who scored, the momentum had well and truly shifted back the way of the visitors. Milford missed an important conversion to keep the margin at six, with the Sharks needing to step up their defence to stop a rejuvenated Canberra side.
However when Milford crossed and converted his own try headed into the final quarter of the match, scores were level, setting up an exciting finish with the game in the balance.
A shaky kick from Luke Pickerd somehow found its way to Moroko in the 62nd minute, bringing the Sharks back into the lead. And when he grabbed his third just five minutes after, things were looking good for a Sharks’ victory.
Again, the Raiders couldn’t be discounted quite just yet, with Lee scoring to bring them close. But when Lichaa crossed for his second, almost a repeat of his first try, victory was assured for the home side, who are now in striking distance of the top eight.