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Sharks suffer a second narrow loss

For the second week in a row it might be considered ‘one that got away’ for a Sharks team who controlled much of the game against the Storm only to go down to a 76th minute penalty goal. 

The Sharks went ahead with a second half try, only for the Storm to hit back and then seal a 12-10 win with a Cameron Smith penalty goal in the closing moments the difference. 

Following on from a loss in round one when the last pass of what would have been a match winning try was called forward, it was a heart-breaking way to begin the Sharks season and makes for a crucial round three clash next week. 

On the back of three penalties the Storm opened the scoring courtesy of a Cameron Smith penalty goal, then it was a Shaun Johnson matching the Melbourne skipper with two-points of his own from 35 metres out to level the scores at two-apiece. 

The Sharks enjoyed the better of the field position in the next period of the contest and following another Storm indiscretion would push out to a lead when Johnson was successful with his second kick at goal and after 21 minutes the Cronulla side led 4-2. 

Following an aggressive opening stint from front rowers Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita the Sharks lost nothing when interchange forwards Toby Rudolf and Braden Hamlin-Uele were injected into the contest and only some desperate Storm defence prevented the lead pushing out further, with the teams going to the break with just two points between them.

Eight minutes into the second half the Storm would equalise with Smith slotting over the fourth penalty goal of the game and his third of the night but it would be the home team to go in front from a move perfected last season in the Canterbury Cup with the Newtown Jets. 

On the last play of the set, after Will Kennedy had almost sliced through to score, it was a Blayke Brailey grubber which was collected by Billy Magoulias, the Sharks lock easily winning the race to the football to touch down. 

Johnson converted and the Sharks had a handy 10-4 advantage in what was a low scoring affair. 

With 10 minutes remaining and after a dubious call from on field referee Ashley Klien, the Storm moved into an attacking position and three tackles later big front rower Tui Kamikamica crashed over for their only try of the night. Smith added the extras and the scores were locked at 10-all. 

Then came the final nail in the Sharks coffin, another Smith penalty goal after a stripping call sealed the result for the Storm, resigning the Cronulla side to a second loss to start to their 2020 season. 

In addition to the disappointment of the Sharks loss, Wade Graham limped from the field with a foot complaint, while Hamlin-Uele also had a lower leg issue which will need to be assessed in the coming days. 

The match also represented the last game in Sharks colours for centre Josh Morris, who leaves on Monday to join the Sydney Roosters. 

In the losing effort the Sharks were well served by young fullback Will Kennedy, who looked dangerous as he becomes more familiar with NRL football, Brailey was strong at dummy half in his second 80-minute performance in back to back weeks, with Woods and Rudolf the pick of the forwards. 

The Sharks return to Netstrata Jubilee next week when they host the Newcastle Knights in a game kicking off at 3.00pm on Saturday. 

Billy Magoulias try, Shaun Johnson 3 goals
Lost to 
Tui Kamikamica try, Cameron Smith 4 goals  

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.