Raiders spoil Sharks farewell party

On a huge occasion at PointsBet Stadium as the Sharks said goodbye to their longest serving and arguably greatest-ever player in Paul Gallen, the Raiders have spoiled the party with an overtime victory. 

With the teams locked at 14-all after the regulation 80-minutes, the game wasn't decided until the second period of extra time, a third Aiden Seizer field goal giving the Canberra side a 15-14 victory. 

It was a loss which means the Sharks last round clash against the Tigers is do-or-die, while the Raiders consolidated third-spot on the ladder with just the one round of the 2019 season remaining. 

The Sharks began the match with plenty of intensity and concerted pressure on the Raiders line in the early moments paid off, a backline shift saw Kurt Capewell, on the field while Josh Morris was undergoing a head injury assessment, throw the final pass for Ronaldo Mulitalo to touch down, the young winger showing great athleticism to get the ball down in the south-western corner. 

Kyle Flanagan, in for Shaun Johnson who was ruled out in the warm up, couldn't convert however the Sharks had a 4-0 lead 17 minutes into the first half. 

On the back of a seven tackle set shortly after, the Sharks would go in again and this time it was another of the teenagers to create a try for Jayden Brailey, with Bronson Xerri stepping through before throwing the last pass for his hooker to touch down. 

Unfortunately for the Sharks Flanagan was again off target however the Sharks were up 8-0 with 15 minutes of the half remaining. 

With half time approaching the Sharks would add to their lead, an exchange of passes between Flanagan and Chad Townsend put Morris into space, with the winger touching down for his second of the afternoon. 

Flanagan’s kick at goal was unsuccessful, the ball this time bouncing off the right upright. 

In a half they had largely dominated, the Sharks took at 12-0 lead to the break. 

The Sharks came out of the sheds without fullback Josh Dugan who failed a HIA after copping a head knock in the dying moments of the first period and it would be a controversial call that saw the visitor post their first points. 

After the referees allowed three plays, then went back to penalise the Sharks for a late hit, a couple of tackles later hooker Josh Hodgson put fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad over and when skipper Jarrod Croker added the extras it was 12-6 Sharks with still half an hour left on the clock. 

There was another refereeing controversy surrounded the Raiders second try, this time Croker going on a long range run after an apparent obstruction when fielding a kick in his own in goal and two tackles later Nick Cotric would touch down, the Croker conversion levelling the scores with 20 minutes still to be played.

With 13 minutes left on the clock and on the back of a Sharks error, Raiders half back Aiden Seizer put his team in front with a field goal, throwing down the challenge to the Cronulla side. 

And the Sharks would meet that challenge, Townsend kicking a one-pointer of his own to level the scores, setting up a grandstand finish with under 10 minutes of the match remaining. 

Giving the home fans hope of a fairytale farewell for the skipper and the other departing players, Townsend put his team in front with a second field goal, leaving the Sharks three minutes to defend their lead. 

A short kickoff then went the way of the Raiders and when Seizer kicked his second field goal with time running out, the teams would go to golden point with the scores locked at 14-all. 

Neither side was able to ice the game as the defence dominated the opening five minute period of the extra time, but on the back of a sixth-tackle Sharks error the Canberra side were able to march into Cronulla territory and seal the result, Seizer winning the game with his third left-footed field goal of the match. 

Despite the heart-breaking result, the Sharks still control their destiny, however nothing short of a win over the Tigers next Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt will see them play Finals football. 

 

SHARKS 14
Ronaldo Mulitalo 2, Jayden Brailey tries Chad Townsend 2 field goals
lost to 

RAIDERS 15
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric tries, Jarrod Croker 2 goals, Aiden Siezer 3 field goals.