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Sharks sneak home in one-point thriller

Two Chad Townsend field goals, one a match winner in the 78th minute, have propelled the Sharks to a nail-biting 10-9 win over the Gold Coast Titans.

In wet and slippery conditions it was never a game that reached any great heights, however missing a number of their most experienced forwards, it was a valuable win for the Sharks and one built on a committed defensive effort.

After Ash Taylor had levelled the scores only minutes before, strong contributions from Ricky Leutele and Josh Dugan put Townsend in position and the Sharks half did the rest, piloting the ball over from 25-metres out in putting his team back in front.

Points on the night were hard to come by and the first try was somewhat fortunate, Jesse Ramien pouncing on a loose ball following a Townsend bomb, before tipping on for Valentine Holmes to score.

Townsend was off target from a wide angle, however after an earlier penalty goal to the Titans, it was 4-2 to the Sharks midway through the first half.

Both teams had chances to add to their totals without success, until a floating Josh Dugan cut-out pass put Edrick Lee over for the Sharks second and the 8-2 scoreline was probably a fair indication of the difference between the two sides.

After earning a recent set in the final moments Townsend would chip over his first field goal and the Sharks would go to the break up 9-2, with Coach Shane Flanagan likely to be satisfied with an 18 from 20 completion rate and just three missed tackles from his team in the first 40.

The second half saw the momentum shift in the early exchanges, the Gold Coast dominating possession and also the field position and immediately they reaped the rewards, Mitch Rein diving over from dummy half to score next to the uprights.

Former Shark Michael Gordon added the extras and it was 9-8 to the Cronulla side after just eight minutes of the second period.

The next quarter of the game featured some frantic play, coupled with errors and desperate defence from both sides, the most significant try saver coming from Jayden Brailey when he managed to hold Gordon up over the line, however neither team could add to their score as the game entered the final 15 minutes of the match.

With the margin still just one point and time running out, Kurt Capewell was denied a try for a double movement, with the Titans kicking themselves out of trouble and into an attacking position.

Putting the Sharks under pressure, the Gold Coast came up with the field goal to level the contest, Taylor calmly potting the ball between the posts with three minutes remaining.

Then just when it appeared the match was headed to golden point, Leutele poked his head through the line before finding Dugan in support and all of a sudden the Sharks were on the front foot and in field goal range.

A couple of settling plays set it up for Townsend, who was picture perfect with his second one-pointer, giving the Sharks the lead with 90 seconds left on the clock and from there they would go on to secure a vital win.

Defensively the Sharks were outstanding, giving up only the one try on the night and while far from perfect with the football, did enough to bring home the all-important two points from what is traditionally a difficult road trip.

With his two field goals and strong kicking game, Townsend deserved praise for his performance on the night, as did the hard-working Sharks pack, led by stand-in skipper Andrew Fifita, hooker Brailey and Scott Sorensen who as was the case last week, was amongst his team's best.

The Sharks now have seven days to regroup before facing the Parramatta Eels at Southern Cross Stadium next Saturday night.


Valentine Holmes, Edrick Lee tries, Chad Townsend 2 field goals



Mitch Rein try, Ash Taylor 2 goals and a field goal

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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