Strong second half sees the Sharks home

Responding after a difficult first 40 minutes, the Sharks have come home with a wet sail in registering a crucial victory over the Wests Tigers in their round 14 clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The Sharks trailed 10-2 at the break, however stuck to the plan and played a solid second half in coming away 24-16 winners.

It was a vital win as the Sharks stayed in the fight for a top four berth.

The teams traded early penalty goals, the Sharks for being inside the 10-metres, the Tigers for a play the ball indiscretion and after 12 minutes it was 2-points all.

Back-to-back penalties to the visitors saw Esan Marsters kick his second goal of the afternoon to put his team up by 4-2 and the Tigers would go further in front when Elijah Taylor took advantage of some lazy Sharks marker play and dived over from dummy half.

Marsters added the extras and despite running into a stiff southerly breeze, the Tigers were up 10-2 midway through the first half.

While the Sharks probably had more of the scoring opportunities with the wind at their back, the Tigers scrambled, defended and kept the Cronulla side at bay, even with Michael Chee Kam in the sin bin for the last seven minutes of the half for a professional foul, with the scores remaining the same going to the half time break.

Now pushing uphill into the southerly the Sharks were made to work for their field position and after earning a repeat set they needed some inspiration, and that came from a predictable source.

With little doing in the middle of the field, skipper Paul Gallen charged into the defence from close range and despite the attention of three Tigers defenders, managed to get the ball down for the Sharks first try of the afternoon.

Chad Townsend kicked the conversion and it was 10-8 Tigers eight minutes into the second half.

Shortly after it was again Gallen and this time he was the provider.

The Sharks captain pushed back to field a Luke Brooks chip kick and finding Valentine Holmes over his shoulder, passed to the flying fullback, who beat the defensive chasers and out-sprinted the cover in a 85-metre dash to the line.

Again Townsend was on target and the Sharks had their first lead of the game at 14-10 with still 25 minutes of the match to go.

Now with their tails up the Sharks earned another repeat set following a clever short side kick from Wade Graham and on the back of that play the Cronulla side would go further ahead, Edrick Lee running onto a perfect cut out pass from Matt Moylan before diving over in the corner.

Townsend couldn't find the mark with the difficult kick at goal, but the Sharks had a handy eight-point lead with 20-minutes of the contest remaining.

But the Tigers were far from finished and when Chris Lawrence made a clean break and passed for Tui Lolohea to score, the try converted, it was game on at 18-16 with more than 13 minutes left to play.

The Sharks did manage to put the game to bed and it came through an outstanding individual effort from Jesse Ramien, the centre breaking tackles, bursting through the line, then beating the fullback in a determined 40-metre run to the line.

Townsend kicked the crucial conversion and up 24-16 with time running out, the Sharks would go on with the job and confirm the win.

While they were made to work for it, scoring 22 points in the second half, running into the stiff breeze, the Sharks would have been both thrilled and received to claim the two competition points against one of the finals contenders.

The Sharks had a number of standout performers, with Gallen proving age hasn't slowed him down, Moylan was dangerous with ball in hand and Holmes had his special touches, including the game-chafing try.

While celebrating the win, the Sharks will be back at work tomorrow in preparation for a game against the Brisbane Broncos next Saturday night at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

SHARKS 24

Paul Gallen, Valentine Holmes, Edrick Lee, Jesse Ramien tries, Chad Townsend 4 goals

beat
TIGERS 16
Elijah Taylor, Tui Lolohea tries, Esan Marsters 5 goals