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The Sharks recovered from a slow start to down the Raiders 36-22 in an Easter Sunday showdown at PointsBet Stadium. 

Trailing 18-0 after 23 minutes, Cronulla wrestled back momentum to level the scores at half time before controlling proceedings in the second term, running in three more tries in front of a sell-out crowd at Shark Park.

Taking the field without several of their star forwards, Cronulla's depth was on show with Cam McInnes leading the way up front and Kayal Iro starring in just his second top-flight match at centre.

Both sides traded early errors but it was the Raiders who opened the scoring with James Schiller looking to make the most of his opportunity in the No. 2 jersey, brushing off Sharks defenders on the back of a slick Matt Timiko tip on.

James Schiller Try

A Cronulla knock on handed the Raiders a chance to extend their lead with Xavier Savage doing it all himself, using his speed to make the most of open space on the back of the scrum.

Raiders halfback Jamal Fogarty came up with a 40-20 in the 23rd minute gave his side another shot attacking opportunity on the line and hooker Danny Levi cashed in, darting over from dummy half to bring up his third try for the season. Fogarty converted to make it 18-0. 

The Sharks opened their account just four minutes later with five-eighth Braydon Trindall splitting the Raiders' defence before diving over from close range for a crucial try 27 minutes into the match. 

Braydon Trindall Try

Cronulla put themselves right back in the contest five minutes from the break, with Ronaldo Mulitalo finishing off a slick left side shift to reduce the deficit 18-12. 

With a sea of momentum behind them, the Sharks went further ahead in the 37th minute when Sione Katoa chased a Blayke Brailey cross field kick before finding Brailey in support who dived over next to the uprights. Nicho Hynes converted and it was all tied up 18-18 at the break. 

The scores were still locked 18 minutes into the second term, but Cronulla stole the lead in the 58th minute when Iro ran a superb line off Trindall to power his way over the line to score his first NRL try. 

Just four minutes later and the Sharks made it a 12-point lead when Will Kennedy punted a perfectly weighted grubber in front of Mulitalo who grounded the ball in the left corner. 

Come the 72nd minute and Schiller made it a double when he finished off a slick right said raid in the corner but Cronulla had the last say when Katoa crossed right on the buzzer to celebrate the comeback win in style.

Match Snapshot

  • Raiders forward Zac Hosking was sent for a head injury assessment after a tackle attempt on Cam McInnes and failed the test just three minutes later after showing Category 1 symptoms.
  • Cronulla centre Kayal Iro did a fine job filling in at centre with two tackle breaks and 144 run metres to go with his second-half try.
  • Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh had a mixed night in his first game for the season with two errors offset by 31 tackles and 9 hit ups.
  • Cronulla forward jack Williams was immense off the bench for the Sharks with a team-high 176 run metres and 26 tackles in a 46-minute performance.

Inch perfect from Hynes

  • Jordan Rapana notched up his 200th NRL match in typical energetic fashion, running 140 metres and breaking four tackles.
  • The Sharks had 14 errors while the Raiders coughed up 12.
  • The Sharks have won six of their past eight games at PointsBet Stadium.
  • Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has now scored 16 tries in his past 12 games at PointsBet Stadium after his Round 4 double.

Play of the Game 

Kayal Iro had a taste of NRL in 2022 and has been left hungry ever since. In just his second opportunity in first-grade, the Cook Islands international stood up when it mattered on Sunday night, showcasing his speed and footwork to break the deadlock with just over 20 minutes to play.

Kayal Iro Try

What They Said 

"We've been guilty of being our own worst enemy and none more so than in the initial stages there. You can't play an opponent like Canberra and not respect that and that was on us. We need to be stronger than that, but I love that we did something about it. After that initial stage, I don't think there was a performer out there that was getting it done but then switch hip and everyone started getting it done, no more than him (Cam McInnes), I think everyone saw that 80-minute performance." - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon.

Sharks: Round 4

"I think we probably played about a patch of 12 or 14 minutes of half decent football, outside of that we were embarrassing, it was awful. We've worked too hard in the off-season, we've changed a lot of those real habits that crept in there tonight and that's what I've got to deal with now and get it back out of us. We started the season really well and that was dismal. We won't be forgetting that night quickly, it was poor and it will be dealt with." - Raiders coach Ricky Stuart

Raiders: Round 4

What's Next 

The Sharks enjoy a bye in Round 5 before meeting with the Rabbitohs on April 13 for a Saturday night clash at Accor Stadium. The Raiders return home to host the Titans on Sunday afternoon.

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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