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Nicho Hynes returned to his best as the Sharks held off a late Rabbitohs comeback to end a three-match losing streak in Perth on Saturday night.

Cronulla had conceded 102 points in their three losses and they failed to score in last weekend's 28-0 loss to Penrith but they held Souths scoreless for 64 minutes at Optus Stadium before finishing 26-16 winners.

With more than 48,000 fans in attendance for the NRL double-header, the Sharks raced to a 24-0 lead as Hynes had a hand in three of his side's four tries and made 16 runs in the first receiver's role as Cronulla kept their top four hopes alive.

After three consecutive losses, the Sharks were desperate and they started strongly with a copybook tackle by Latrell Mitchell preventing Connor Tracey from scoring the opening try in the seventh minute.

Cronulla continued to attack the Rabbitohs' right edge and their perseverance paid off when winger Mawene Hiroti beat Tyrone Munro and Cody Walker before stepping inside Mitchell to score in the 18th minute.

The Sharks struck again on the opposite side of the field when centre Jesse Ramien pushed off Alex Johnston and Isaiah Tass in a run down the touchline before turning the ball inside for winger Sione Katoa to score in the 25th minute.

Katoa still had plenty of work to do and the way he stood up Mitchell after stepping out of the tackle of Walker was a spectacular piece of individual brilliance.

Sione Katoa try 23rd minute

A Nicho Hynes penalty goal extended Cronulla's lead to 14-0 in the 33rd minute and only the desperate defence of Ilias, Damien Cook, Tom Burgess and Tallis Duncan stopped Wade Graham from scoring soon after. 

Souths' best first half scoring opportunities were when Siosifa Talakai intercepted a Lachlan Ilias pass in the 30th minute and Alex Johnston put his left foot into touch as he planted the ball in the corner a minute before the break.

Munro bought fans to their feet when he sprinted into the clear just with just seconds remaining on the clock but the break failed to result in points and the Rabbitohs went to halftime trailing 14-0.

The Sharks showed they were intent to go on with the job in the second half when Hynes put halves partner Braydon Trindall over for the first of his two tries five minutes after the re-start.

Braydon Trindall try 44th minute

Rabbitohs centre Campbell Graham was held up by Hiroti in the 52nd minute and the Sharks struck at the opposite end just five minutes later when Trindall started and finished a stunning try scoring movement.

Trindall grubbered for Hiroti who batted the ball infield to stop it going into touch and Talakai picked it up before grubbering infield where the Sharks five-eighth collected it and dived over to score.

Leading 24-0, Cronulla looked home and hosed but the Rabbitohs suddenly came to life when Walker and Mitchell combined to create space out wide for Johnston to score in the 64th minute.

The Kumuls winger then turned creator after racing down the sideline and kicking infield for an unmarked Ilias to catch the ball and score just a minute later.

Lachlan Ilias try 64th minute

An 74th minute Isaiah Tass try gave Rabbitohs fans hope of a remarkable comeback but it was too little too late and they are now in danger of dropping from the top eight after winning just three of their last nine games. 

Match snapshot

  • Souths forward Jai Arrow failed to finish the match after suffering a back injury and had to be assisted from the field in extreme pain.
  • Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess was sinbinned and placed on report for shoulder contact on Cronulla forward Tom Hazleton in the 76th minute. 
  • Alex Johnston had only scored three tries in his previous 10 matches against the Sharks - his worst strike rate across all opponents played - but he crossed in the 63rd minute and laid on a try for Lachlan Ilias.
  • Cronulla and South Sydney lead the NRL with most line breaks (123) each after both teams finished with five line breaks apiece in Perth.
  • The match was Cronulla's first trip to Perth since 2005.
  • Sharks captain Wade Graham celebrated his 250th game for the club with a win and ran 115 metres with the ball.

Munro's got wheels

Play of the game 

There were some spectacular tries scored in Perth but none were better or more important that Braydon Trindall's second which he started and finished to put the Sharks ahead 24-0 midway through the second half.

Braydon Trindall try 57th minute

What they said

"I was disappointed un that first half, in particular. I thought they got the jump on us physically and then we tried to come back into it, but we were ill disciplined. Our discipline killed us tonight, both with the ball and it was an 11-4 penalty count. I liked some of the characteristics I saw in the second half, there was some real fight in us but we are just killing ourselves. We gave ourselves no chance to win it. I think they came with some real motivation, some real intent and they've been getting kicked a bit but we have got to give a lot of credit to Cronulla. They were excellent and they put us under a lot of pressure and we tried to come up with big plays to get out of it instead of grinding our way out of it and playing tough," - Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou.

Rabbitohs: Round 23

"I couldn't be prouder, I thought we took a step in the right direction last week. It didn't look like it and it didn't feel like it because of the score line, but I saw a lot of good signs there and I thought we doubled down on that today. We have had a fair bit of adversity recently, we have a number of players missing - quite a few - and the guys turned up and got their jobs done. It was Wade Wade Graham's 250th game today. That's a proud moment for him and and on behalf of the Sharks, to have a club legend like him, he's only the third Shark to play 250 games so I wanted to honour that and I thought the guys did that," - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon. 


What's next 

The Sharks host the Titans at PointsBet Stadium next Friday night followed by trips to North Queensland and Newcastle before finishing the regular season with at home against the Raiders.

The Rabbitohs' road trip continues next week when they fly to Cairns to face the Dragons on Saturday before travelling to Newcastle in Round 25. Souths have a bye before meeting Sydney Roosters in the final round at Accor Stadium.

Tom Burgess was sinbinned and placed on report for high contact on Tom Hazleton late in the match, while front-row partner Jai Arrow came from the field in the second half with a back injury.  


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.

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