Edrick Lee’s controversial try three minutes from time has given the Cronulla Sharks an important 18-15 win over New Zealand Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium.
Home side New Zealand Warriors got off to a dream start, scoring twice in the opening seven minutes of play. Both tries coming off mistakes from the Sharks with Solomone Kata and Anthony Gelling crossing. Soon after the wealth of possession started to even up and the Sharks responded with two of their own. Knights bound Jesse Ramien and Edrick Lee reduced the Warriors lead to two points after twenty-five minutes. Chad Townsend’s penalty goal near half-time saw both sides head into the sheds level at 12-all.
It was a stalemate for a good part of the second half before penalties goals to Townsend and Shaun Johnson made it 14-all with thirteen minutes to play. The Warriors looked likely to hold onto victory with Johnson’s field goal just six minutes from the bell, but the luck was with Cronulla. Lee completing a brace of tries as he touched down just inside the corner post to the dismay of the crowd. The Sharks sending New Zealand Warriors to a third straight defeat at home with their 18-15 win.
SHARKS BENEFIT FROM DUBIOUS CALL
There will be only one call talked about post game. The Sharks were on the attack after Matt Moylan’s field goal attempt was charged down. From the next set the Sharks went left through the hands of Moylan. It was the next, and final pass from Ricky Leutele to Edrick Lee which looked forward from the reverse angle to the ire of Warriors fans. The decision may be close to season-ending for the Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers, depending on results. Both sides may sit six points out of the eight with nine rounds remaining needing a miracle to make the finals.
SHARKS LOVE THE GRIND
It’s the Sharks bread and butter to get teams into a close contest and more often than not they get away with victory. Last night was a classic example. Just like their match with Brisbane a fortnight back, Cronulla fell behind early but showed good poise to get back into it. Shaun Johnson had other ideas but Cronulla pulled off the great escape. This style of game will be evident over the next four matches as they come up against top eight clubs in the Panthers (Round 18) and Broncos (Round 20).
ARE THE WARRIORS A TOP FOUR SIDE?
A good top four side usually has a good home record to justify their standing on the table. Since 2014 no top four side has recorded more than four losses at home during the season. The Warriors have now lost four from eight and still have home games against Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers ahead of them. The more the season goes on it looks unlikely the Warriors will end up in the top 4. However Stephen Kearney should be proud of his efforts as they look certain to play finals football for the first time since 2011.
HAS THE PLAY THE BALL BLITZ RETURNED?
In an odd-night of officiating we saw the return of the incorrect play the ball. The first one went against new Sharks recruit Aaron Woods where he played the ball lazily thirteen minutes into the second half. Just moments later Chris Satae was penalised for the Warriors. Replays suggest Satae was hard done by with Paul Gallen failing to clear the ruck. On Woods’ first game with the Sharks – a solid performance coming on at the twenty minute mark in making 128 metres and 18 tackles.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 15
Tries: Solomone Kata, Anthony Gelling
Goals: Shaun Johnson 3
Drop Goals: Shaun Johnson
CRONULLA SHARKS 18
Tries: Edrick Lee 2, Jesse Ramien
Goals: Chad Townsend 3
Drop Goals: n/a
New Zealand Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 3 Anthony Gelling, 23 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Gerard Beale, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 24 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Simon Mannering Interchange: 9 Karl Lawton, 15 Tevita Satae, 16 Bunty Afoa, 17 Jazz Tevaga
Cronulla Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sione Katoa, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Kurt Capewell, 12 Scott Sorensen, 13 Paul Gallen (c) Interchange: 14 Joseph Paulo, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya
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