Sharks win Jersey Flegg premiership
The Cronulla Sharks are the 2018 Jersey Flegg premiers after defeating the Penrith Panthers 22-12 at Leichhardt Oval.
A vocal contingent of Sharks supporters turned out to support the under-20s, and they were treated to a performance to savour from the youngsters.
Halfback Braydon Trindall was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match.
After being tested in defence early on, the Sharks landed the first blow of the match when hooker Harrison Smith benefited from an offload and crashed over from close-range.
Trindall converted from beside the uprights for a 6-0 lead following 12 minutes of play.
Penrith responded moments later with fullback Daine Lawrie crossing on the back of a smart inside pass from five-eighth Dean Blore.
No.7 Brendan Hands added the extras to lock the scores.
The Panthers were soon on the attack again and threatened to post a second try, but the committed Sharks defence forced an error.
Cronulla was left a man short on the bench when prop Blake Manowski was carried from the field with a leg injury late in the first half.
Right before half-time, the Sharks found themselves in prime territory after a towering Trindall bomb was spilled by Penrith, resulting in a drop-out.
Cronulla slung the ball wide on the ensuing set and winger Isaac Lumelume produced a brilliant leaping finish to touch down in the corner.
Trindall nailed the goal from the sideline to give his team a 12-6 advantage at the break.
A dropped ball put the Sharks under immense pressure to begin the second stanza, costing them six points.
Panthers forward John Trimboli barged his way in for a no-nonsense try before Hands slotted the goal to tie the game.
Cronulla prop Cruz Topai-Aveai flipped the momentum back in the Shire side's favour when tore up middle on a bullocking run.
Fifteen minutes later, fullback Luke Polselli poked his nose through on the left edge and cleverly linked with centre Bronson Xerri, who needed no invitation to scoot away and score. Trindall missed the goal.
Rather than shut down and protect the slender four-point buffer, the Sharks continued to play enterprising football.
And it would pay big dividends as Trindall registered a decisive try with six minutes remaining.
He then booted the conversion to put the Sharks ahead by 10 – a margin that would see them clinch the premiership.
A scuffle erupted in the final seconds that saw the referee sin-bin two players.
The fracas did nothing to dampen the Sharks' high however, and they were soon embracing on the field as the siren rang out and confirmed the silverware was theirs.
Bronson Xerri, Braydon Trindall, Harrison Smith, Isaac Lumelume tries, Trindall 3 goals
Lead photograph - Isaac Lumelume scores - pic courtesy Steve Montgomery/ OurFootyTeam.com