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Sharks whip the Cowboys in eight-try win

In a confidence boosting performance, the Sharks have crossed for eight tries in a 48-10 thumping of the North Queensland Cowboys. 

After a first half which saw the Cronulla side race away to a commanding lead, in the second 40, with injuries seeing players shifted into unfamiliar positions as was the case in the loss to Parramatta last week, the Sharks went on with job in recording their second win in four matches so far this season. 

The Sharks opened the scoring in the fourth minute, Mawene Hiroti sliding over in the south-eastern corner after some clever lead up work and crisp passing from his inside men. 

Chad Townsend slotted the sideline conversion and the Sharks had an early 6-0 lead. 

The early Sharks advantage was rubbed out soon after when a loose pass was scooped up by Cowboys speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, the winger sprinting 80-metres to score and following the Valentine Holmes conversion the scores were locked up at 6-apiece seven minutes into the match.

Making up for his earlier error Townsend was this time the engineer of the Sharks next points, seeing space behind the Cowboys defensive line the halfback put in a perfect grubber for Josh Dugan to touch down.

Townsend was again on target with the kick, this time from the opposite sideline and the Sharks were up 12-6 at the 15 minute mark of the match. 

Not long after, again injuries intervened for the Sharks, Dugan assisted from the field in suffering a nasty head cut, then Ronaldo Mulitalo limped from the field with a knee problem, forcing a backline reshuffle, however despite the difficulties they faced, the Sharks were undeterred. 

Going back on the attack the Sharks went to the left where they had enjoyed previous success, on this occasion it was Connor Tracey bursting through a couple of would-be defenders to get the ball across the line. 

Townsend made it three from three and the Sharks were up 18-0. 

A Blayke Brailey 40-20 would then put the Sharks into an attacking zone once more and again they would capitalise on their field position, Braden Hamlin-Uele crashing through the line, then throwing a miracle one-handed off-load for Matt Moylan to score his first four-pointer of the 2021 season. 

Townsend pushed the score out to 24-6 and the Sharks weren't finished yet, Will Kennedy starting a move down the right side, finding Hiroti support, before backing up his winger to streak across the line. Then in capping off a brilliant first half, Tracey won the race to a Brailey kick for his second and his teams sixth try of the period.

Townsend remained perfect with the boot and it was 36-6 to the Sharks at the break, with the Cronulla team receiving a rousing reception from the 5119 members and fans in attendance.

Coming out for the second half without Dugan who failed his HIA and Mulitalo due to his knee issue, meaning it was a situation not dissimilar to the previous week, as coach John Morris made mass positional changes. 

However showing similar resolve to the Eels match a week ago, the Sharks went about their job, defended strongly, controlled the ball and were rewarded with more points, young backorder Teig Wilton, who had shifted from right second rower to left centre, getting a clear run to the ball and the line when a Townsend cross kick was left to bounce. 

Townsend made it seven from seven and the Sharks had upped their lead to 42-6 with still 20 minutes of the match to be played. 

And they weren't done yet, Kennedy getting across for his second of the night, his fifth in four games so far this season, before a late consolation try to Holmes for the Cowboys completed the scoring.  

The Sharks had a number of outstanding performers, with Toby Rudolf again forced to play 80-minutes, a lot of that on the right edge, Williams, Tracey  and Wilton in unfamiliar positions did what was required of them and more, while Brailey had arguably his best game of the 2021 season. 

In the halves, Moylan scored his first try for three seasons and was busy, while Townsend was controlled throughout, laying on three tries with kicks and perfect with the boot in slotting eight from eight. 

The next assignment of the Sharks is a game against the Roosters at the SCG on Saturday night. 

Connor Tracey 2, Will Kennedy 2, Mawene Hiroti, Matt Moylan, Teig Wilton, Josh Dugan tries, Chad Townsend 8 goals

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Valentine Holmes tries, Holmes goal