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Second half Raiders rally too good for Matts Sharks

The Canberra Raiders have fought back from a 10-0 half time deficit in beating the Sharks 18-10 in the round 7 Matthews Cup match played at PointsBet Stadium.

The Sharks had all the running in the opening 30-minutes but couldn’t put their opponents away, with the Canberra side storming home to inflict the second consecutive loss on the under-17 Sharks who had started their season with three wins.

Playing with the four Matthews Cup debutants the Sharks began with plenty of energy and their efforts were rewarded when one of the first-timers in Tanna Featherstone touched down wide out on the end of a slick backline play.

Skipper Chevy Stewart was just wide with his kick at goal as the Sharks took an early 4-0 lead.

Despite having the better of the field position and possession the Sharks were unable to get across the Raiders line and it took a spectacular long-range effort for the Cronulla side to add to their lead.

Catching a high kick just 10-metres out from his goal line fullback Stewart evaded the chasing pack and headed up field. Confronted by his opposite number on the half-way line Stewart dummied, swerved around the Raiders fullback before dashing away to score under the posts.

Stewart then converted his own try in giving his team a 10-0 lead with 12 minutes of the first half remaining.

The Sharks were again repelled by strong Canberra defence on the goal line and it was the visitors who had perhaps the best chance to score in the first period, only for a brilliant covering tackle from Stewart which denied Raiders five eighth Sam Chapman a try in the south-western corner of PointsBet Stadium.

The second period began in similar fashion to the first, with the Sharks on the attack, the Raiders bending but refusing to break, with their resilience paying dividends when possession switched around and they were able to put pressure on the Cronulla team.

It took 12 minutes of the half for the Raiders to score, the converted try bringing the margin back to just four points, then they would go ahead with 10 minutes of the match remaining when hooker Ethan Alaia showed great skill to dive over for his teams second four-pointer.

The conversion was again successful from a wide angle and the Raiders had their first lead at 12-10.

The Sharks tried to stem the tide and fight their way back into the contest however the young Canberra side had other ideas, with a clinching try three minutes from fulltime sealing the result.

For the Sharks Max McCarthy played the full 60-minutes in the middle of the field in an inspirational performance, one featuring a quality contribution with his high work rate.

Stewart at the back wasn't far behind McCarthy is terms of the Sharks best on teh day, doing what he could to lift his team but it wasn’t to be as the under-17 Cronulla team would drop their second game in a row after starting the season with three consecutive wins.

Next up for the Sharks is a round eight match against the Balmain Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

SHARKS 10
Chevy Stewart, Tanna Featherstone tries, Chevy Stewart goal
Lost to
RAIDERS 18
Mani Leuluai, Ethan Alaia, Noah Marcantonio tries, Sam Gash 3 goals

Lead photograph - Steve Montgomery - ourfootyteam.com

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.