Andrew Pelechaty reviews an entertaining clash between North Queensland and Cronulla-Sutherland, with the Sharks winning their first game of the season.
|20th||Try Jesse Ramien (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 4-0|
|22nd||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 6-0|
|25th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||North Queensland 6-4|
|26th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||scores tied 6-6|
|28th||Try Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 10-6|
|29th||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 12-6|
|42nd||Try Justin O’Neill (North Queensland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 12-10|
|46th||Try Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 16-10|
|51st||Try Jesse Ramien (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 20-10|
|53rd||Goal Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 22-10|
|55th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 22-14|
|57th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 22-16|
|60th||Try Briton Nikora (Cronulla-Sutherland)||Cronulla-Sutherland 26-16|
This game started controversially, with six Cronulla players failing initial temperature tests; though fortunately for the Sharks, all six players were cleared.
It was a scoreless first 20 minutes, with the Sharks absorbing early pressure from the Cowboys. Shaun Johnson had a chance to open the scoring in the 15th minute with a penalty goal, but it hit the post.
Jesse Ramien scored the Sharks’ first try in the 20th minute (scooping on a loose ball), though the Cowboys responded five minutes later. Attacking down a right hand short side on the last tackle, Jake Clifford gave the final pass for Kyle Feldt to score in the corner.
Ronaldo Mulitalo gave the Sharks the lead back three minutes later, pouncing on a lovely kick from Johnson 20 metres from the Cowboys’ line.
Mulitalo was denied a chance to extend the Sharks’ lead late in the half, with Briton Nikora ruled to have obstructed the Cowboys’ defence.
Johnson’s late field goal attempt went wide, with the Sharks taking a 12-6 lead into halftime.
North Queensland were the first to score in the second half, with Justin O’Neill scoring off a nice kick from Clifford to the left-hand corner. Valentine Holmes missed the tough conversion, with Cronulla leading 12-10.
The Sharks got the ball back quickly after a Cowboys error, and – helped by a couple of six agains – gave Mulitalo his second try with a beautiful pass from Ramien, with Mulitalo just staying in the right-hand corner. Holmes missed another tough conversion as the Sharks led 16-10.
Cronulla extended their lead six minutes later. The Cowboys were pressuring their Sharks’ line before the Sharks capitalised on an error; Johnson picked the ball up and offloaded to Ramien, who streaked away for his second try of the night.
Feldt responded a few minutes later with a 75-metre runway try of his own, (also his second try of the night), keeping the Cowboys in the game.
The Sharks answered five minutes later, with Briton Nikora pushing the Sharks’ lead back to 10.
Feldt messed up the restart, kicking out on the full (continuing the trend of both teams making a mistake the set after scoring a try); the Cowboys were saved with Johnson not finding touch from the ensuing kick. That error nearly cost the Sharks, with Esan Marsters’ try being denied by the Bunker due to a knock on.
It was the Sharks’ first win of the season after losses to Souths, Melbourne, and the Wests Tigers. The Cowboys – with 16 errors in the game – slip to 2-2 for the season.
While it was an error-filled game, the cardboard cut-out fans in Townsville were treated to two runaway tries in five minutes during the second half.
The first one was in the 53rd minute, with Cronulla capitalising on a Cowboys error close to the Sharks’ line. Shaun Johnson picked up the scraps, ran and passed to Jesse Ramien, who went 75 metres to score.
The Cowboys answered four minutes later, with Kyle Feldt scoring a runaway 75-metre try of his own: it was his second of the night.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Francis Molo 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean (c) 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Tom Gilbert 19. Shane Wright.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Toby Rudolph 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham (c) 13. Jack Williams. Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Siosifa Talakai 17. Scott Sorensen.