Sizzling first half sparks Sharks women's victory

A six-try first half onslaught propelled the Cronulla Sharks women's side to a thumping 40-20 win versus the South Sydney Rabbitohs on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at PointsBet Stadium.

Winger Zali Fay, centre Tiana Penitani and lock Talei Holmes all bagged doubles in an impressive Sharks performance across the board.

Cronulla earned a penalty in their opening set and capitalised immediately through right centre Kiana Takairangi to surge ahead after three minutes.

An early ball from five-eighth Quincy Dodd gave Takairangi room to move and she was too powerful to stop at close range. Halfback Maddie Studdon couldn't land the difficult conversion attempt.

Cronulla went back-to-back moments later with Holmes bustling over the stripe next to the posts. Studdon landed the extras for a 10-0 scoreline.

The home team rode the wave of momentum after the restart and rolled deep into South Sydney territory again. The ball hit the deck on a shift down the right but Takairangi scooped up the Steeden and skilfully put Fay in the corner.

The touch judges' flags were raised as Studdon's right boot hit the mark from out wide.

Ill-discipline from the Rabbitohs kept Cronulla in possession and they took advantage when a perfect flat pass by Studdon saw hard-running back-rower Jade Etherden crash past the defence to join the try-scoring party.

Studdon's goal kick was wide but the Sharks were right on top at 20-0.

The fifth try of the afternoon belonged to the electric Penitani, who skipped to the outside of her opposite number on the left edge and scorched 50 metres to extend the margin. Studdon nailed the conversion.

Another Souths error in their own red-zone led to Fay collecting her brace late in the half, pushing Cronulla's tally to 30 at half-time.

Possession balanced out in the second stanza and the Rabbitohs presented a much better account of themselves, outscoring the Sharks four tries to two in the final 30 minutes.

Forward Kandy Kennedy collected two four-pointers (31st, 40th minutes) for the visitors while centre Tayla Pilley (45th) and Rhianna Sutherland (56th) also claimed tries.

Penitani and Holmes found the in-goal for Cronulla amidst Souths' surge to ensure the hosts maintained a comfortable buffer at all times.

The opposing teams embraced in a circle after full-time to cap off an entertaining fixture played in great spirit.