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Sharks let big lead slip in Roosters loss

The Sharks have let a 14-point second half lead slip through their fingers in going down by 26-18 to the Sydney Roosters. 

The Cronulla side held their opponents at bay for much of the contest, forging an 18-4 lead midway through the second half, but in giving up four tries in the last 18 minutes failed to close out what was shaping as an impressive win against one of the the NRL's heavyweights. 

The Sharks committed uncharacteristic defensive errors in conceding the late tries, two of which were orchestrated by young halfback Sam Walker who also notched a four-pointer of his own in the late Roosters rally. 

The Sharks began fast, going on the attack following a Toby Rudolf line break and their energetic start was rewarded when a slick backline passing exchange saw Mawene Hiroti dive over in the corner. 

Chad Townsend carried on from where he left off last week in kicking the sideline conversion and just five minutes in the Sharks were up 6-0. 

More was to come seven minutes later following a Rooster error, Will Kennedy pushing through the tackle of Walker to score his sixth try of the 2021 season. 

The Townsend kick this time was wide of the posts however the Sharks had opened up a handy 10-0 advantage. 

The Sharks then lost skipper Wade Graham to a head knock in the 15th minute and while possession and momentum shifted somewhat in the favour of their opponents in the next period of the contest, it took the Roosters 10 minutes to register their first points, Brett Morris scoring in the south-western corner of the SCG. 

The conversion was hooked to the left of the posts and the Sharks led 10-4. 

With half tine approaching the Sharks pushed their lead out to eight points, Townsend slotting a penalty goal after a late hit on the Cronulla half back after he had kicked he ball downfield and it was 12-4 at the break.  

The Sharks kicked off the second half without Josh Dugan, the centre the second Cronulla player to be ruled out with a head knock, and after withstanding some pressure at their defensive end, managed to extend their lead at the other. 

A last tackle Townsend kick was plucked out of air by Jesse Ramien, who in displaying good strength got his arms free and off loaded for Jack Williams for the Sharks lock to score under the uprights. 

Following the successful kick it was 18-4 Sharks 13-minutes into the second period. 

On the back of a penalty for a high tackle, the Roosters would edge closer, a Drew Hutchison dummy fooling the Sharks defence and when Siosiua Taukeiaho converted the five eighth's try it was 18-10 with almost a quarter of the match remaining. 

Now with their tails up the Roosters continued to attack and they would make continue their revival, Daniel Tupou on the end of a cut out pass to touch down inches in from the sideline. 

The kick at goal was waved away, but the Roosters were within one score at 18-14 with a tick under 10 minutes left on the clock. 

Now with all the ball and full of running, the Sharks couldn't hold the Roosters out, Walker reaching out to score with five minutes left. the subsequent conversion putting his team in front, before Brett Morris bagged a second to hammer the final nail in the coffin of the Cronulla side. 

The loss see the Sharks drop out of the top eight as they remain on four competition points with two wins from five games so far this season. 

Their next assignment is a match against the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Friday night. 

SHARKS 18
Will Kennedy, Mawene Hiroti, Jack Williams tries, Chad Townsend 3 goals 
lost to
ROOSTERS 26
Brett Morris 2, Drew Hutchison, Daniel Tupou, Sam Walker tries, Siosiua Taukeiaho 3 goals