by Nathan Beuman
The Cronulla Sharks have gone down to the Sydney Roosters 44-24 in their Holden Cup matchup at Remondis Stadium.
The highly anticipated battle between the two number sevens, Fa’amanu Brown and Jackson Hastings, didn’t disappoint with the Roosters halfback showing why he is being touted as the next big thing and the Sharks playmaker again leading the way for his team.
The Sharks got off to a quick start, when Valentine Holmes made a break on the opening kickoff. Off the back of a quick play the ball, winger Joshua Addo-Carr raced away to score in the opening minute of play.
Holmes was unable to convert the try, leaving the scores at 4-0.
Cronulla was in again in the 14th minute, when Jake Lawrence found an overlap on the left hand side, passing to Taylar Garrett in the centres, who scored untouched.
Again Holmes was unable to add the extras, leaving them the Sharks at 8-0.
Lawrence was in the mix again shortly after, spreading it into halfback Brown, who crossed with 20 minutes gone.
The Roosters picked up their first points of the game 13 minutes from the break, front rower Jake Lewis crashing over under the posts, leaving three Sharks players in his way.
Hastings converted the easy kick, bringing the Roosters to within eight points.
An exchange of passing between Brendan Elliot and Hastings moments later lead to the visitors second try, with Elliot diving over under the posts, Hastings adding the two points to send the Roosters in only two points behind at half time.
The Roosters took the lead four minutes into the second half, when Jack Goodsell dove over out wide, leaving Jackson a conversion from the sideline, which he knocked over with ease.
The Sharks hit straight back, when a Brown across field kick finding a high flying Dallas Wells in the corner, who came down with it to tie the scores up at 18 all after 49 minutes.
Again, Holmes was unable to add the extras, leaving the scores level.
A no look pass from Holmes out of dummy half to Sage Wilder saw the Sharks lock crashing over just to the left of the upright and when Holmes made his first conversion of the afternoon the Sharks had a converted try lead with 22 minutes remaining.
A jinking run from the Roosters Alex Thomas from dummy half had the home side on the back foot, before he passed it wide to Arthur Currie, who got the ball down in an acrobatic piece of football.
Hastings continued his perfect night with the boot, knocking down the kick from the sideline, and leveling the scores again with 20 minutes remaining before fulltime.
Off the ensuing kickoff, Hastings managed to intercept a desperation pass in field from the Cronulla winger, before offloading to Piki Rogers, before the Roosters number seven capped off an individual piece of brilliance, slotting the 2 points from out wide, giving his team a converted try lead with 16 minutes remaining.
Roosters fullback Nene Macdonald sliced his way through the Cronulla line eight minutes later, getting around his opposite number to score under the posts, giving Hastings yet another easy two points, and the visitors a 36-24 lead.
Two tries to the Roosters in the final five minutes of play secured a comprehensive 44-24 victory for the visitors and capped a disappointing final period of the match for the Sharks.
The Sharks are now three wins from their seven matches in the NYC this season.
Fa’amanu Brown, Taylar Garrett, Sage Wilder, Josh Addo-Carr, Dallas Wells, Valentine Holmes 2 goals