NRL MATCH REPORT | Sharks climb to 5th
The Sharks have hang on in a nail-biter to clinch an all-important 18 points to 14 victory over the NZ Warriors.
The win is Cronulla’s 7th win from the side’s last 8 matches, and the Sharks now sit firmly entrenched in the NRL’s top eight with five matches remaining this season.
Returning to the Warriors line-up after three weeks out of the squad, and playing on an unfamiliar left edge, Konrad Hurrell opened the scoring when he scooped up a fortuitous deflection from a Chad Townsend kick.
Stand-in halfback Tui Lolohea couldn’t add the extras, and the score remained at 4 points to nil.
Cronulla captain Paul Gallen went close to eradicating the deficit, only to be brought down inches short by Warriors hard-man Jacob Lillyman.
In a tale of much of the first half’s proceedings, the Warriors stacked on continued pressure on the Sharks goal line, earning five repeat sets of six and undoubtedly tiring the Cronulla’s defence.
Ken Maumalo claimed a try in the 33rd minute only to be denied, before Warriors captain Simon Mannering scored just before the break to extend his side’s lead to 10.
Having enjoyed only 38% of the ball in the opening period, the Sharks returned from the sheds with the intentions to get a stronger hold on possession.
A Sam Tagataese bust in the 44th minute saw the Sharks work the ball well into Warriors territory, and when he found Jack Bird – who in turn found Valentine Holmes – Cronulla found their opening points of the night.
Gordon made no mistake with the kick from out wide, and the Sharks reduced the deficit to four.
Lolohea kicked his side to a 12-6 lead as the Warriors earned a penalty, before Holmes scored his second try of the night when he chipped, chased and regathered to square the sides at 12.
Lolohea would again add another two as the Sharks infringed, but not to be deterred by falling behind, the visitors again hit back when Ricky Leutele crossed adjacent to the left touchline.
Gordon maintained his perfect night with the boot, and the Sharks took the score to 18-14 with 10 minutes to play.
As was the case when the sides squared off in Round 9, the match would go down right until the final minute – and the Warriors again went within inches of stealing the two competition points.
Mannering’s would-be offload was ruled to be a knock on by referee Ben Cummins, and Cronulla would hang on to score an 18-14 win.
The Sharks move to outright fifth on the NRL ladder, and now will turn their attentions to a home game next Saturday night against the North Queensland Cowboys.
CRONULLA SHARKS 18 – TRIES: Holmes (2), Leutele | GOALS: Gordon (3/3)
Def. NZ WARRIORS 14 – TRIES: Hurrell, Mannering | GOALS: Lolohea (3/4)