The Sharks added to the Warriors woes with a resounding 42-16 victory in the Shire.
The Sharks wasted little time flexing their muscle in this match as Bronson Xerri crossed for the first try of the game at the two-minute mark, Shaun Johnson successful conversion gave them a 6-0 lead.
The Warriors showed some of their trademark razzle-dazzle, unleashing several offloads in quick succession surging up the field. A quick tap back from David Fusitu’a saw Patrick Herbert scored the Warriors first try of the evening, Herbert was unable to convert his own try and had the Warriors trailing 6-4. The Warriors were close to scoring again but had to settle for a repeat set. This was the last opportunity the Warriors had to attack the Sharks goal line for some time as the Sharks scored back to back tries through Josh Morris and Josh Dugan, Johnson’s converted both to push the Sharks lead out to 18-4.
The Warriors kept themselves in the match when Isaiah Papali’i charged over after a nice pass at the line, Issac Luke converted the try but the Sharks had the last laugh as Briton Nikora took advantage of Johnson attacking the Warriors line seeing the young second rowers excellent year continue with yet another try, Johnson’s conversion gave the Sharks a 24-10 lead going into the break.
The Warriors started the second half with intent camping in the Sharks red zone, forcing several repeat sets but the Sharks were let off the hook when Ken Maumalo went over the sideline. The Sharks took this chance with both hands with Braden Hamlin-Uele charging up the middle of the field to score under the posts, Johnson’s conversion pushed the score out to 30-10. The Warriors tried to bounce back five minutes later with Papali’i looking to his scored his second try of the match, but the bunker ruled that he lost possession over the line. The pain for Warriors fans continued as Ronaldo Mulitalo dived on a Xerri grubber to score the Sharks sixth try of the match, Johnson’s golden boot continued with yet another successful conversion. Despite victory being well out of their grasp Roger Tuivasa-Sheck showed his class throwing a large pass out to the returning David Fusitu’a to score one of his trademark diving tries in the corner which Herbert converted but much like the first half the Sharks had the last laugh when Josh Morris snatch up a loose Warriors pass to score his second try of the night, Johnson once again converted handing the Sharks a 42-16 victory.
The Boot is back
After a few weeks with the boot that he would like to forget, Shaun Johnson made sure to make a statement against his former club kicking seven from seven. With the top eight being so close, every point matters so Johnson will need to keep his kicking streak going for the next fortnight.
Offloads help and hinder Warriors
Offloads were a double-edged sword for the New Zealand side, on one hand when they were able to offload the ball they looked to show potential on attack, almost threatening to score several times. But on the other hand, the Warriors were guilty of not wrapping the ball carrier up allowing the Sharks to get several offloads of their own away and the Sharks punished them for it.
Playoff charge continues
This victory keeps the Sharks in playoff contention and with a big match against the Canberra Raiders next round it was a much-needed victory. Cronulla has started to build momentum at the right time of year and with a lot of their stars returning to full fitness they have the potential to go deep into the playoffs.
Heavy defeats continue
The Warriors have now conceded 40+ points in their past three defeats and with matches against the Rabbitohs and the Raiders left to play there is a big chance that these massive defeats will continue. With no hopes of playoffs, the Warriors fans will be hoping that the Warriors show some passion and pride in their last home game of the year next round.
Tries: Josh Morris (2), Bronson Xerri, Josh Dugan, Briton Nikora, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Ronaldo Mulitalo
Goals: Shaun Johnson 7/7
Tries: Patrick Herbert, Isaiah Papali’i, David Fusitu’a
Goals: Patrick Herbert 1/2, Issac Luke 1/1
Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen, 14. Kurt Capewell, 15. Jack Williams, 16. Andrew Fifita, 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7. Blake Green, 14. Lachlan Burr, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Isaiah Papali’i, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 15. Sam Lisone, 17. Kodi Nikorima, 22. Blake Ayshford