The Sharks, last year’s NSW Cup Premiers, fielded a solid side but did not have any of their Melbourne Storm players as part of their NSW Cup partnership for the trial.
Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 7th minute when centre Setefano Taukafa fended off two defenders to score out wide for a 4-0 lead. Centre Corey Brown failed to convert the try.
Cronulla Sutherland scored a fine try in the 21st minute when the ball was shifted left through several hands for exciting young winger Valentine Holmes to dive over for a 4-all scoreline. Jaden Clarke converted the try to give the Sharks a 6-4 lead.
The Sharks went to 10-4 lead when prop David Fifita picked up a dropped pass by Wests Tigers winger Taqele Naiyaravoro 10 metres out from his own line from a scrum win to crash over to score. Taylar Garrett, who got a call up after playing in the NYC trial win, converted the try for a 12-4 lead after 45 minutes.
Clarke then used brute strength to crash over next to the posts minutes later for a 16-4 lead. Garrett converted the try for an 18-4 lead.
Wests Tigers hit back when Allan McGrath dived over in the right corner for an 18-8 scoreline. Brown converted the try from the sideline to reduce the Sharks lead to 18-10 with seven minutes remaining.
The Sharks lead was further reduced when Wests Tigers full-back Kurtis Rowe made a 50 metre break before stepping and turning the defender inside and out to score near the posts for an 18-14 scoreline. Brown failed to convert the try.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 18 (Valentine Holmes, David Fifita, Jaden Clarke tries,
Taylar Garret 2 goals) d Wests Tigers 14 (Setefano Taukafa, Allan McGrath, Kurtis Rowe tries, Corey Brown goal).
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
16 Nathan Gardner, 2 Valentine Holmes, 3 Ricky Leutele, 18 Jacob Gagan, 5 Dallas Wells, 17 Pat Politoni, 14 Jaden Clarke, 8 Kurt Dillon, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Fifita, 12 Junior Roqica, 11 Michael Morris, 13 Scott Sorenson.