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NRL MATCH REPORT | Cronulla-Sutherland 14 – 4 Melbourne

Cronulla hosted Melbourne in the Good Friday night match at Southern Cross Group Stadium, with Cronulla winning a dour game 14-4.


  • Cronulla 2-0 Chad Townsend goal (fifth minute)
  • Cronulla 8-0 Edrick Lee try (23rd minute), Townsend goal (25th minute)
  • Cronulla 8-2 Joe Stimson goal (38th minute)
  • Cronulla 10-2 Townsend goal (47th minute)
  • Cronulla 10-4 Stimson goal (62nd minute)
  • Cronulla 12-4 Townsend goal (66th minute)
  • Cronulla 14-4 Townsend goal (75th minute)



After last Friday’s Wests Tigers v Brisbane game was ruined with a horrible Golden Point penalty, tonight’s referees (Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall) had far too much influence in a niggly, ugly, controversial and frustrating Good Friday game. There were 33 penalties (19-14 to Melbourne), with 16 in the first half. There were so many penalties that even the Channel Nine commentators got sick of it. While it kept the score close, it felt like a grinding game rather than a genuinely exciting one. Melbourne – arguably the most consistent team of the NRL era – were off the boil, with 15 errors and only two penalty goal to Joe Stimson. It was the first time since round six last year they were held tryless (also against Cronulla, losing 11-2).

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After scoring all 14 points in last Saturday’s win against Parramatta, Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend scored another 10 points (five goals) at Shark Park tonight. He opened the scoring with a penalty goal, converted Edrick Lee’s try, then scored three second half penalty goals to smother the Storm. He’s now scored 17 goals and one try in 2018.

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After a rough opening three rounds, Cronulla turned up on Good Friday. Despite 16 penalties overall in the first 40 minutes and Luke Lewis’ sin binning, a Lee try (almost making up for that 2016 preliminary final drop) and two Chad Townsend goals gave Cronulla a deserved 8-2 lead. It was enough for the Sharks thanks to some tenacious second half defence. It was the second time this season Melbourne was held tryless in a half, with Wests Tigers holding a 4-0 halftime lead against the Storm in round two.

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Luke Lewis’ 100th game for Cronulla (after over 200 with Penrith) – was marred with a sin bin in the 13th minute: the 11th sin bin (already) for 2018. It was a contentious one, with Lewis deemed to have impeded Billy Slater after Slater went for a quick tap following a Melbourne penalty. Luckily for Cronulla, Lee’s try in the 23rd minute gave the Sharks an 8-0 lead before Lewis returned.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was sin binned. Considering Smith’s almost mythological ‘influence’ on referees, it was a suprise sin bin for backchatting in a spiteful game.

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Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said in the Channel Nine post-match show that everyone was frustrated but, “I can’t blame the referees…we’re trying to work with them.”

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said, “Yeah there’s a lot of penalties…I’m not here to criticise the referees…I was really disappointed in our performance today.”


Tries: Edrick Lee.
Goals: Chad Townsend 5/5
Drop Goals: NA

Tries: NA
Goals: Joe Stimson 2/2
Drop Goals: NA


Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 5 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 20 Edrick Lee, 19 Trent Hodkinson, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14 Kurt Capwell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Ava Seumanufagai, 17 Joseph Paulo

Melbourne Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Joe Stimson, 12 Ryan Hoffman 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Tim Glasby, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano, 21 Brandon Smith


The Forward Pass is a weekly dose of footy-related satire and general nonsense. The author Andrew Pelechaty has been a freelance sportswriter since 2003 and has a BA and Grad Cert in Editing and Publishing.


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