The Cronulla Sharks have defeated the New Zealand Warriors 26 points to 12 at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday night.
Kurt Capewell got the Sharks on the board in the fourth minute after he pounced on a deft Chad Townsend grubber kick to take the score to 4-0.
Valentine Holmes took on the goal-kicking duties in James Maloney’s absence and made no mistake with his first attempt and the Sharks were ahead 6-0.
The Sharks looked like they’d scored their second when Andrew Fifita went close to the line. Chad Townsend put the ball high towards the uprights and Fifita flew above the pack however the ball was knocked out by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
It was the Warriors who looked to trouble the scorers when they worked their way deep into Sharks territory and into good scoring position.
Warriors hooker Isaac Luke saw that the Sharks were loose around the ruck and decided to run the ball himself. He looked to have scored a certain try however Luke Lewis had other ideas, getting his arm underneath the ball.
The try went to the NRL Bunker however was denied after it was confirmed that Lewis had in-fact stopped a certain try.
The Warriors were the next team to score though when James Segeyaro looked to break down the Sharks’ right edge before passing to Gerard Beale on the wing however Solomone Kata plucked the ball out of thin air to take the intercept and run 40 metres to score.
Luke converted from the sideline and the scores were levelled.
From the kick-off, the Sharks put the pressure right back on the Warriors aiming up in defence. The aggressive defence pressured the Warriors and Mason Lino came up with a dropped ball.
Fa’amanu Brown swooped on the loose ball and ran 20 metres to crash over for the Sharks.
Holmes converted the try and the score went to 12-6 and would remain the same at the break.
Both sides returned for the second half full of energy, looking to get the advantage over their opposition early in the half.
Not to be outdone though, the Sharks hit back through a Holmes penalty goal in the 44th minute to put his side ahead 14-12.
The momentum of the game would again change, when the Warriors hit back on the right edge. Mason Lino took the ball to the line before laying on a nice pass for Bodene Thompson to go over in the 50th minute.
Luke converted the try and took the score to 14-12.
In what was a sickening moment of the match, Nu Brown went in to tackle a charging Sam Lisone who raised is knee running into the tackle, forcing Brown to be stretchered off the field on a medicab and sent to hospital.
Determined to get the win for their fallen teammate, the Sharks lifted. Wade Graham moved to five-eight and set up a quality move on the Sharks left edge before going through the hands to Holmes and Ricky Leutele before Sosaia Feki crossed for his 12th try of the season.
Holmes converted the sideline conversion and the score was 20 points to 12.
Full of confidence, the Sharks rampaging forwards took the game head on and managed to give their side the ascendency over a tiring Warriors side.
Andrew Fifita made a half break through the middle of the field before off loading to Matt Prior who was in support before he found a rampaging Jayson Bukuya on his inside who crashed his way over the tryline to score the Sharks’ final try for the night.
The Sharks would close out the game to record their 13th win of the season and sit in second position on the NRL ladder.