Cronulla have overcome a gutsy Titans outfit to move into the top four with an 18-10 win at C.ex Coffs International Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A converted try to Blayke Brailey and 58th minute penalty goal to Nicho Hynes in the second half ensured the Sharks secured their ninth win of the season after both sides were locked at 10-10 after 40 minutes.
Cronulla were anything but convincing in the victory with a total of 16 errors but Hynes and halves partner Matt Moylan, who scored a try and had a hand in one, did enough to guide the side around the park.
The victory moves the Sharks in front of the Broncos in fourth spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder ahead of the representative round next week.
Match: Sharks v Titans
Round 15 -
Venue: C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Both sides struggled with their completion rates while a total of 14 penalties in the match made it difficult for any free-flowing attack despite dry conditions on the mid north coast.
The Titans will take plenty away from the loss despite suffering their 12th of the season but will lament their last-tackle options on the few occasions they had field position.
Moylan's birthday gift
- Cronulla looked threatening and on track for a big day out with two tries through Sione Katoa and Matt Moylan setting up a 10-0 lead after 14 minutes.
- The Titans hit back with two tries of their own within the space of six minutes to level the scores.
- Back-rower Beau Fermor sold some candy with an impressive dummy fooling Will Kennedy, before Greg Marzhew tippy-toed his way to the line in the left corner.
- Cronulla had all the running late in the first half but couldn't capitalise with eight errors in the opening 40 minutes.
- Gold Coast's ability to stop half chances created by the Sharks kept them in the contest for its majority.
The Sharks come out firing
- The Sharks hit the lead four minutes into the second half when Teig Wilton hit a hole on the left edge to send Blayke Brailey over the line.
- A high shot from Jaimin Jolliffe on Moylan allowed Hynes to step up and add another two points, more importantly giving Cronulla an eight-point lead.
- Sharks centre Jesse Ramien was placed on report for contacting Beau Fermor with his elbow while in possession of the ball.
- The Titans were denied a spectacular consolation try on full-time with Moylan ruled to have knocked the ball on at the other end of the field.
- Cronulla's backline, including their halves, all ran for over 100 metres in the win while Royce Hunt (168 metres) was the best in the middle.
- Titans forward Tino Fa'asuamaleaui churned out 182 metres in the defeat and pulled off a try saver on Will Kennedy in the first half ahead of his return to Origin camp next week.
Play of the game
It wasn't a flashy play, nor is it ever likely to end up on a highlight real. But the effort from Jesse Ramien after half-time to keep AJ Brimson in-goal allowed the Sharks to strike the next play through Blayke Brailey and set up the win in a gritty contest.
What they said
"I'm a bit disappointed with that game but really happy to get 50 NRL games. I never thought I’d get one NRL game so super grateful to be here playing footy. If we're going to compete with the best teams in the competition we have to be better. We have to go back to training and work hard on the small parts like giving away penalties at our end. We need to take a good hard look at ourselves. Penrith and Melbourne don't do that, they're relentless for 80 minutes." - Sharks playmaker Nicho Hynes.
"We tried really hard and competed hard but a couple of near misses and we fell short again. It's a good time to have a week off. It's good to have AJ back and Pauly Turner I thought was really good but had his calf tighten up. That's where we're falling short in our overall game. Conceding that try in the second half made it hard work. There's plenty of fight in the group. If we were two metres short last week we were only one metre today." - Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
NRL Press Conference: Sharks v Titans - Round 15, 2022
The upcoming representative round will give most players in each team a week off but for others they'll be either representing their state or nation.
The likes of Nicho Hynes and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui are likely to go into Origin II camps while Isaac Liu and Erin Clark (New Zealand), Moeaki Fotuaika (Tonga) are the Titans representatives.
Cronulla will have at least five representatives on Pacific Test duty with Ronaldo Mulitalo and Briton Nikora (New Zealand), Siosifa Talakai and Sione Katoa, Andrew Fifita (all Tonga) next week.
Silky skills from Kennedy provides the try