Sharks hold off brave Roosters to make it 14
Though not without a fight, the Sharks have scored a 32 points to 20 win over the Roosters, in taking the Club’s winning run to 14 consecutive games.
Made to work for the competition points, the Sharks found a way home when under immense pressure late on in the game, to round out the win in front of 9,276 fans.
The Roosters opened the scoring when gifted a chance, as Gerard Beale spilled a cross-field ball which Mitchell Aubusson collected to touch down.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho turned four into six, as the Roosters shot out to a six-point lead inside the opening three minutes.
Though an error off the prevailing kick off would have the Sharks right back on the attack – and the visitors converted position in to points as Valentine Holmes went in for his 13th try of the season.
Holmes finished off a sweeping back line play to cross and to score, though Maloney could not convert from the far right sideline.
Latrell Mitchell’s kick off to restart play would be hit too hard, and with the ball travelling out on the full the Sharks were handed a restart from the centre of half way.
From the following set of six, Holmes very nearly had a second inside as many minutes – but unable to hang onto the ball when felled just shy of the goal line, he was denied.
A second kick out on the full, this time from the boot of Mitchell Pearce in general play, would again have the Sharks in good position to start their set.
Working the ball deep inside the Roosters’ red zone, Gerard Beale went close to scoring, though denied unfairly, with Blake Ferguson sent to the sin bin in the process.
Taking advantage of the extra man, the Sharks went in to score through Jack Bird, who went over to cross thanks largely to the work of the decoy run of his inside man Luke Lewis.
Maloney made no mistake second time around, as the Sharks brought up a 10-6 lead with a quarter of the match gone.
The Sharks went on to build sustained pressure and position inside the Roosters half in Ferguson’s absence, but would be denied additional points as the hosts muscled up in defence.
Turning the Sharks away after being forced into two goal line drop outs, the Roosters were rewarded for their work when stand-in half Connor Watson dashed through to score.
Taukeiaho couldn’t add the extras at the second time of asking, as the score remained locked at 10-apiece.
Full of energy after posting points, the Roosters again looked likely to cross if not for a Beale intercept close to the line.
The centre ran the better part of 80 metres to have the Sharks in an excellent attacking zone, and soon after Lewis crossed for his sixth of the 2016 campaign.
Lewis the beneficiary of Chad Townsend’s deft pass at the line, with Maloney converting within earshot of the half time siren to send the Sharks back to the sheds six points to the good.
The second period started much the same as the first finished, with the Sharks again on the attack early with thanks to an error from Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
Kenny-Dowall’s drop paved the way to again make best use of field position early in the half, and the side took full advantage through Sosaia Feki’s 47th minute try.
Maloney converted, and the Sharks took a 12-point lead.
The razzle-dazzle of the first period showed no signs of letting up after the change of ends, and again it was the Sharks on the favourable end of the bounce of the ball when Townsend went in to score.
A chip-and-chase from Beale into the in-goal sat up for Townsend, who crossed to score – though couldn’t convert – as the score remained at 26-10.
Working the ball down the other end of the park, the Roosters would soon after be denied when Mitchell went over to claim a four-pointer.
An obstruction in the lead-up saw the play brought back, with the Sharks let off the hook.
Though not for long.
A crafty blind-side play had the Roosters in to score not long after the Mitchell ‘No Try’ decision, as Dale Copley crossed for his first try of the season.
Unable to add the two, the difference remained at 12 with near on 25 minutes to play.
Ruled to have spilled the ball over the line in the 64th, Daniel Tupou couldn’t be denied when presented another chance at the line – touching down with ease to reduce the margin to 6.
A tight affair ensured for the final 15 minutes, and as the match hung in the balance, the result would not be put beyond doubt until Feki streaked away for his second of the night in the 79th minute.
Townsend converted, as the Sharks rounded out a 10-point win, and their 14th in succession.
CRONULLA SHARKS – 32
Tries: Holmes, Bird, Lewis, Feki (2), Townsend | Goals: Maloney (3/4), Townsend (1/2)
Def. SYDNEY ROOSTERS – 20
Tries: Aubusson, Watson, Copley, Tupou | Goals: Taukeiaho (2/4)