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The Sharks will hold their spot atop of the NRL table after outclassing the Cowboys 42-6 at PointsBet Stadium on Sunday.

Running in four tries in 30 minutes before dominating proceedings for the reminder of the match, Cronulla made it three wins on the trot to hand themselves an impressive 5-1 record to start the season.

A horror start for the Cowboys saw Scott Drinkwater hand the Sharks an early try with Will Kennedy scooping up a loose offload and crashed over from close range.

The Cowboys wrestled back some momentum and both sides traded sets and opportunities before cult hero Tom Hazelton extended the lead in the 21st minute, running inside Nicho Hynes before showing some superb footwork to leave several defenders in his wake. 

Thomas Hazelton Try

Less than five minutes later and the Cronulla faithful were on their feet again when a sweeping right side shift sent debutant winger Sam Stonestreet over in the corner for a 24-0 lead. 

The home side were in again when Blayke Brailey sent a perfectly weighted grubber towards the in goal for Braydon Trindall to race through and score. 

Hynes converted for a 30-0 lead before the breaks, leaving the Cowboys with some soul searching to do at half time. 

The visitors worked their way back into the contest early in the second term, but any flickering hope of a comeback was extinguished when Trindall made it a double, picking up a loose ball off a Hynes' bomb.

Cronulla well and truly hit sixth gear when Hynes sent a looping pass to the left for Ronaldo Mulitalo to extend the lead 36-0.

Ronaldo Mulitalo 1st Try

North Queensland were finally on the board in the 53rd minute when Chad Townsend punted a grubber through the line for Valentine Holmes to pounce on and score to reduce the deficit 36-6.

But Cronulla had the final say with Mulitalo crossing for a double after another sharp shift to the left to make the final score 42-6.

Match Snapshot 

  • Cowboys forward Kulikefu Finefeuiaki was sent for a HIA in the 12th minute for which he later passed.
  • Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has scored 32 tries in 28 games at PointsBet Stadium.
  • The Sharks completed 21 from 24 sets for an 87 per cent completion rate in the first half.
  • Sharks centre Kayal Iro got through plenty of work in the centres, running 170 metres with the ball and breaking five tackles.
  • The Cowboys finished with 12 errors compared to the Sharks' eight.
  • Sharks forward Braden Hamlin-Uele entered the fray in the 50th minute for his 100th NRL game in what was also his first appearance for the 2024 season.
  • Nicho Hynes had another day out in the No. 7 jersey with two try assists, three tackle breaks and 30 tackles.
  • Will Kennedy was rewarded the Paul Green Medal for a performance which included a trey, 137 run metres and seven tackle breaks.
  • The Sharks have won five of their past six games at PointsBet Stadium.

Desperate Drinkwater reels in Mulitalo

Play of the Game

It was the moment the third-generation Shark had been dreaming of, scoring a try in front of family friends hanging over the Shark Park fence. A lifelong Cronulla supporter, the grandson of former rugby league player Ken Stonestreet made it a debut to remember when he raced over in the right corner in the first half.  

Samuel Stonestreet Try

 What They Said 

"The difference between us and the Sharks was the willingness to defend teams when they're coming out of their own end. We started the game on the back foot, giving away a cheap try...and then it was 18-0 pretty quickly. We just gave the Sharks an ability to put in high kicks all night rather than kick from their own half. Then the six points early in the second half really hurt us in the way the try was scored. We need to shift our attitude to tackling and defending...until we shift that mentally we'll still be here having this conversation." - Cowboys coach Todd Payten

Cowboys: Round 7

"We had a plan that we wanted to execute and I thought we controlled the game pretty well and just got our basics in the game really well done. The momentum shifts in the game are huge at the moment but lucky we were on the right end of that. I thought there was a deeper focus this week in the guys and it was an important night for both of the clubs with the Paul Green medal, and us having a debutant and having Braden (Hamlin-Uele) back. We've still got stuff we've got to get better at though." - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon

Sharks: Round 7

What's Next 

The Sharks head to GIO to meet with the Raiders for a second time for the season while the Cowboys host the Panthers in Townsville on Saturday.

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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