The Cronulla Sharks NYC side have kicked off their 2016 season in winning fashion, with a 30-16 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys.
Cowboys flyer Gideon Mosby opened the scoring in the 4th minute after swooping on a Sharks lose ball in his own half. Cody Grills converted the regulation shot at goal to take the score to 6-0.
After some strong attacking passages, the Sharks looked to be pressuring the Cowboys line however were unable to convert.
The Cowboys then regained the assendency when halfback Cooper Bambling crossed the line after a show and go close to the line. Grills was unable to convert the try leaving the score at 10-0.
Both sides then traded penalties for a period of the second half as neither team was able to break the defensive line.
The break came though, in the form of a try to the visitors as front-rower Jaimin Jolliffe barged over the Cowboys line from close-range.
Aufaga-Toomaga added the extras to take the score to 10-6 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
It wasn’t long though before the home side hit back though following a Sharks dropped ball after the kick off.
Cody Grills was able to find a gap on the Sharks right edge and went over to take his side’s lead to 14-6. He converted his own try to take the lead to 16-6.
The Cowboys got proceedings underway in the second half and it wasn’t long before the Sharks were again on the board.
Attacking through their left edge, a well-worked Sharks play resulted in back-rower Billy Magoulias gliding over to close the Cowboys lead to 16-10. Aufaga-Toomaga converted the try to take the score to 16-12.
On a run of attacking momentum, the Sharks hit back in quick succession through winger Sione Katoa, who put on a fleet-footed display to go over in the left corner.
Aufaga-Toomaga again converted the try and the Sharks took the lead for the first time in the match at 18-16.
Katoa was again in the thick of the action when he pulled of what may have been the play of the match.
Attacking the Cowboys line, the Sharks threw the ball to ground and a flying Marcus Jensen swooped up the ball for the home side and looked set to score.
However, the Sharks winger came from the far side of the field, cornering his opponent and dragging him into touch metres out from the Sharks line.
From here, the Sharks fed of their own momentum and marched the home side back up the field with the attacking raid ultimately resulting in another try to Jolliffe, his second of the afternoon.
Aufaga-Toomaga again converted and extended his side’s lead to 24-16.
The Cowboys toiled hard to regain the ascendency however we dealt a significant blow when their influential skipper Coen Hess was sent to the sin bin with 17 minutes remaining.
The Sharks rounded out their victory with a try to lock forward Jayden McDonogh right next to the uprights. Once again, Aufaga-Toomaga added the extras to take the Sharks lead to 30-16.
Sharks 30 (Jolliffe 2, Magoulias, Katoa, McDonogh tries Aufaga-Toomaga 5 goals) def. Cowboys 16 (Mosby, Bambling, Grills tries Grills 2 goals)