The NYC Cronulla Sharks have scored a convincing 24 points to 10 victory over the Newcastle Knights.
In the 9th v 11th clash, the Sharks side prevailed five tries to two in a match that will give the side great confidence ahead of next week’s trip to Townsville.
Sharks fullback Ryan Cummins opened the scoring in the 6th minute of play, when he and back-rower Anthony Moraitis combined on the left edge of the field.
In what was a simple wrap-around play, Cummins swooped upon the opportunity to post first points, and he did, in taking the score to 4-0.
Centre Jamayne Isaako – while unable to add the extra points – showed his toughness and a willingness to work, time and time again putting his hand up for tough runs out of the Cronulla end.
Isaako’s carries would put the side in good territory, and the side would turn position into points when hooker Brailey’s sleight of hand sent Billy Magoulias in untouched.
The home side was down by ten and struggling to work their way into the contest, and had looked to have reduced the deficit to 6.
But the last-ditch efforts of the Sharks had sent the decision to review, and the Captain’s Challenge worked in favour of the visitors – the score remained 10-0 to Cronulla.
Full of running and confidence having denied the Knights’ attack, the Sharks persisted attacking the Newcastle right-edge defence, but couldn’t put the home side to the sword.
Drop balls and ill discipline would keep the hosts in the contest, and sure enough the Knights would post their first points through centre Braden Robson. Five-Eighth Lamb was unable to add the extras, and the sides returned to the sheds with the score at 10 points to 4.
The Knights came out of the rooms after half time full of running, and the momentum of the clash had certainly swung in favour of the hosts.
Newcastle went close to scoring from a grubber kick – twice – but the Cronulla defence proved up to the task to shut the play down.
Sharks SG Ball graduate Curtis Scott made it two tries in his last two Holden Cup outings when he crossed out wide, before Levi Sopi extended Cronulla’s lead to 18-4.
Newcastle looked to arrest control of the clash when prop King crossed with 10 minutes to go, reducing the margin to 8 points, and keeping the side in the contest.
Scott was sent to the Sin Bin for fighting with 6 minutes to play, and Newcastle received a timely penalty 30 metres out from the Cronulla goal line.
But again, Cronulla’s defence stood firm, and they would be rewarded at the other end of the Hunter Stadium when Brailey crossed to round out the scoring with three minutes to play.
CRONULLA SHARKS 24 – [TRIES: Cummins, Magoulias, Scott, Sopi, Brailey | GOALS: Isaako (1/2), Cummins (0/1), Williams (1/2)]
Def. NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 10 – [TRIES: Robson, King | GOALS: Lamb (0/1), Donovan (1/1)]