Match Report: Sharks roll on for a 15th straight win
The Sharks have continued on in winning ways, recording a 15th successive NRL victory in downing the Knights 36 points to 4.
Though not a true reflection of the tough and tight tussle that was the first 40 minutes, a dominant second half showing from the home side set the wheels in motion for another big win over the Newcastle side.
The Sharks crossed for early points courtesy of centre Jack Bird, who went in untouched after 5 minutes to seal the afternoon’s first four-pointer.
Assuming the kicking duties in the absence of his regular halves partner James Maloney, Chad Townsend couldn’t add the extras as the score remained at 4-nil.
And so it would until the 26th minute, when Sosaia Feki bagged the side’s second – and his 13th of the season – to take the score out to eight.
Feki finished off a well-worked backline move to touch down in familiar fashion in the South-Eastern corner of Southern Cross Group Stadium, before Townsend slotted from out wide to take the scores out to double figures.
Ben Barba had looked to have extended the lead to 14, if not 16, though his would-be try in the 31st minute of play was called back, as Michael Ennis was ruled to have interfered with the Knights’ defence.
Heading in to the sheds 10 points to the good, the Sharks returned to the field in the second period, and looked electric from the get-go.
Barba wouldn’t be denied upon his second run-away chance in the 44th minute, streaking away to score the Sharks’ third try of the afternoon.
Barba’s dash followed his hand in Feki’s try, and prefaced his hand in Gerard Beale touching down, in the 50th minute.
Beale’s jink on his run to cross capped a blistering start to the second period, as the home side quickly shot out to a 20-point lead.
Bird would grab his double in the 52nd minute when he raced down the Eastern touchline to score, before his outside man Valentine Holmes also notched two tries in quick succession.
A handful of missed conversions kept the score tighter than perhaps could have been, though the Knights did show some late character to cross through winger Nathan Ross.
The score at 32-nil, Ross collected a deflected kick to score the Knights sole try of the afternoon.
Having run in seven tries prior to their last, Barba capped a remarkable day out, when he crossed for his second in the last minute of play.
Holmes from out wide couldn’t add the extra two, as the score remained 36 points to 4 at the sound of the full time siren.
CRONULLA SHARKS – 36
TRIES: Bird (2), Feki, Barba (2), Beale, Holmes (2) GOALS: Townsend (Conv. 2/6), Bird (0/1), Holmes (0/1)
Def. NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS – 4
TRIES: Ross GOALS: Hodkinson (Conv. 0/1)