Slow start sees Sharks fall to Raiders

A horrendous start which saw them facing a 20 point deficit midway through the first half, has seen the Sharks slip to a disappointing 22-20 loss to the Canberra Raiders. 

The Sharks were their own worst enemies in the early exchanges, penalties and a lack of respect for the ball gifting the Canberra side numerous opportunities, which they managed to capitalise on in building a commanding lead.

From that point the Sharks were gallant, levelling the scores midday through the second half, however in hostile territory on a chilly night in the national capital, it proved a mountain too high for the Cronulla team to climb.  

An early error from the Sharks and a penalty that followed saw Jarrod Croker post first points with a goal from 20 metres out and after just two minutes the home side led 2-0. 

With heavily possession favouring the Raiders another penalty would piggy back them into an attacking position and on the last tackle half back Aiden Sezer shaped to kick and then ran, catching the Sharks defence napping to score his teams first four-pointer of the night 

Crocker was again on target and it was 8-0 Raiders10 minutes into the match. 

The next try to Canberra would again come from a mistake, the Cronulla side turning over cheap possession and a shift of the ball to the left caught the Sharks short, winger Bailey Simonsson diving over in the corner. 

Croker converted from the sideline and the Sharks were in a deep hole at 14-0 behind. 

Things would then go from bad to worse, a high tackle penalty again saw the Raiders push into the Sharks end of the field and following a repeat set Croker strolled through huge hole in the defensive line to make it 18-0, with the extra two pushing the score out to 20-0 with still 15 minutes of the first half remaining.

With their first attacking opportunity the Sharks would answer, a cleverly weighted Chad Townsend kick seeing Josh Dugan win the race to the ball to touch down and it was 20-4 after Shaun Johnson was unable to add the extras. 

Gaining some confidence from their first excursion into Canberra territory the Sharks would cross again before the break, Wade Graham off-loading, the ball going to ground, with Josh Morris picking up the scraps and diving over. 

Johnson was astray with his kick at goal but at 20-8 the Sharks had worked their way back into the game following what was an awful start. 

Encouraged by the way they finished the opening half the Sharks began the second 40 on the front foot and they would bridge the gap further when Braden Hamlin-Uele with a powerful run crashed through a handful of defenders to score under the uprights. 

This time Johnson was able to convert and it was game on at 20-14 with 35 left on the clock. 

The Sharks kept pressing and after getting a favourable call when the ball was ruled to be stripped from Graham and knocked on, just four tackles later they would score, Dugan scoring his second on the end of a Johnson pass. 

Johnson kicked the goal from a wide angle and it was 20-all with over 25 minutes to go. 

Croker later would kick his team back in front with a penalty goal in the 64th minute, which would prove to be the winning points, with the Sharks trying hard and throwing plenty at the Raiders but unable to peg back their opponents in the final period of the contest. 

It was a courageous comeback but a disappointing result for a Sharks side who has unfortunately made a habit of playing from behind over the first half of the 2019 season. 

The Sharks now have a 17-day break before their next assignment which is a game against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on June 30. 

 

SHARKS 22
Josh Dugan 2, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Josh Morris tries, Shaun Johnson 2 goals 

Lost to 

RAIDERS 20