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REPORT | Cronulla Sharks 38-12 Newcastle Knights

The Sharks have moved into the top 4 with a thumping win over the Newcastle Knights 38-12 in round 24 at Shark Park.

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MATCH DETAILS

The Sharks have emerged as possibly the biggest threat to the 2018 NRL Premiership with a thumping win over the Newcastle Knights 38 – 12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday.

This was the Sharks third win in a row, finding form at the right time of the season just one week out from the finals. The Sharks leapfrogged the Dragons to claim fourth spot on the table, with the Roosters and Rabbitohs both suffering losses this weekend, only points differential separates 2nd to 4th.

Farewelling Luke Lewis with his final home game in the regular season, it was the coaches son 5/8th Kyle Flanagan setting up the Sharks first try for Josh Dugan in the 16th minute. The Knights soon responded with a four-pointer to Nick Meaney, replacing injured Kalyn Ponga at fullback. Just before half-time the Sharks crossed over again through Edrick Lee giving them a 14 – 6 lead into the break.

Sosaia Feki opened up the scoring in the second half to give the Sharks an 18-6  lead before the Knights hit back through Daniel Saifiti who went in under the post to close the gap 18-12 with 20 minutes remaining. Valentine Holmes then became the Sharks leading try scorer in a season going over for his 20th try.  Edrick Lee then went over for his 2nd for the day, before a spectacular try to Chad Townsend through a cross field kick provided the Sharks a 38-12 win to send them into the top 4.

The Knights were their own worst enemy conceding 12 penalties, and sin-binning of Aiden Guerra making it difficult to hold out the Sharks for the 80 minutes.

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FOUR POINTERS

Sharks serious title contendors

The Sharks have hit form at the right time of year, and are arguably the main threat to Melbourne Storms premiership crown.

Knights show some improvement

The Knights improved slightly on their first meeting with the Sharks earlier this year, though with injuries to star player Kayln Ponga who didn’t line up, the effort was there leading up to the 60th minute. But they couldn’t keep up with an inform Sharks team.

The closest competition in NRL history

The Storm lead on 34 points, with points differential separating Roosters, Rabbitohs and the Sharks on 32. Then only 2 points back are the Panthers, Dragons, Broncos and Warriors who sit on 30 points.

Top 8 not yet defined

The teams that make up the top 8 maybe set, but the final look of the top 8 will go down to the final week. The Storm should finish minor premiers with a strong point differential safeguarding them, though the Top 4 is not yet guaranteed which makes the final round still captivating for the fans.

 

THE RESULT

Cronulla Sharks 38

Tries: Josh Dugan 23′, Edrick Lee 39′, Sosaia Feki 47′, Valentine Holmes 59′, Edrick Lee 72′, Chad Townsend 76′
Goals:Valentine Holmes 6/7, Edrick Lee 1/1

Newcastle Knights 12

Tries: Nick Meaney 30′, Daniel Saifiti 56′
Goals: Ken Sio 2/2

SQUADS

Cronulla Sharks

1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Kurt Capewell, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Kyle Flanagan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 23 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c) Interchange:  14 Scott Sorensen, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya

Newcastle Knights

1 Nick Meaney, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 20 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Mitch Barnett Interchange:  14 Jamie Buhrer (c), 15 Chris Heighington, 17 Josh King, 21 Luke Yates

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