Brad Inger reviews the Sharks vs Warriors clash in potentially the last game in Sydney for a while. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Connor Tracey (22), Braydon Trindall (33), Braden Hamlin-Uele (35)
Goals: Braydon Trindall (23, 34, 37, 40)
Tries: Reece Walsh (16), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (57)
Goals: Reece Walsh (17, 57)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Shaun Johnson (Sharks)
2 pts – Connor Tracey (Sharks)
1 pt – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The match started as the close encounter many had predicted, with both sides trading sets in the early stages. The Warriors earned the first attacking opportunity after the Sharks dropped a bomb but could not break through the Sharks goal-line defence. The Sharks, aided by a penalty, marched up the field and put up a corner kick that was taken by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. A penalty against Cronulla handed the visiting side great field position. After a few half-breaks from Reece Walsh and Eliesa Katoa, the Warriors were yet again unable to convert this chance into points with a last tackle grubber going over the dead-ball line. The home side’s discipline continued to let the Warriors off the hook with another penalty getting the New Zealand side a piggyback out of their own half. An offside penalty against Kodi Nikorima saw yet another scoring opportunity squandered. However, points were not far away when Walsh dived on a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak grubber to nab the match’s first try. The sides traded a few sets before an offside penalty against new Warrior Matt Lodge saw the Sharks get themselves on the scoreboard with Braydon Trindall throwing a short ball to Connor Tracey to cross the line untouched. The game settled into a battle in the middle with both sides trading sets until another penalty against Lodge, this time for contact with the head after catching Ronaldo Mulitalo as he was falling. This saw the Sharks winger leave the field for an HIA but gave the home side another fresh set inside the Warriors half; they had a few attempts to break the visitor’s defence. Still, the Warriors scrambled to keep them out, including a bone-rattling tackle from Watene-Zelezniak; the Sharks managed a repeat set after the Warriors had to ground a grubber. Once again, the Sharks were contained but found themselves with the ball once more after Walsh knocked on a grubber. The home side would not be denied this time, with Trindall barging over in the left corner to hand Cronulla the lead. The New Zealand side made another error when Walsh kicked the ball out on the full on the next kickoff. The Sharks punished them, wasting little time to score their third try of the afternoon when Braden Hamlin-Uele took Walsh for a ride over the try-line before celebrating by delivering a peoples elbow to Jack Williams (for all you Wrestling fans out there). With momentum completely on their side, the Sharks continued to pile on the pressure, and they were almost over again after Tuivasa-Sheck dropped a kick on his goal-line. Still, the Warriors managed to hold them out and only gave away a penalty which Trindall slotted to push his sides lead out to 20-6 as the sides went into the sheds.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20 New Zealand Warriors 6Embed from Getty Images
The visitors started the second half with better intent and almost scored in the right corner, but the Sharks smothering defence got the job done. The New Zealand side managed to dominate possession and territory but struggled with their final tackle plays. A penalty against Sione Katoa for a swinging arm saw the Warriors camped on the Sharks goal line, but they could not break through, with the closest being an attempt from Eliesa Katoa, who was held up over the line. Back to back errors from Jack Murchie let Cronulla off the hook before Walsh opened up the field with an electrifying run. A few tackles later, the Warriors looked to have lost possession again before successfully challenging the call; with the ball back in their grasp, the New Zealand side finally broke through Cronullas defence when Tuivasa-Sheck darted over the try-line after receiving a nice inside ball. Conceding that try appeared to wake up the home side, and they started to make inroads deep inside the Warriors half, earning repeat sets but let themselves down, losing control in the play the ball. The visitors piled on the pressure again and looked to have scored after Marcelo Montoya pushed a grubber through for Murchie to score, but the second-rower was offside, so the Sharks grimly held onto their eight-point lead. The pressure was on the New Zealand side as the game entered the final six minutes. Another knock-on from the Sharks gifted them another full set inside the home sides 20 metres; however, an overzealous skip pass from Walsh to Watene-Zelezniak saw the ball sail over the sideline. A series of dropped balls followed, but the Warriors lost their second captains challenge, and their night was essentially over. They made one last attempt to score in the final minutes, but a poor chip kick from Nikorima went straight into the hands of Mulitalo. From here, the Sharks played one-out football to wind down the clock and secure the much-needed win.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20 New Zealand Warriors 12
to be advised
Match Review Committee
to be advised
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