Andrew Pelechaty reviews the final game of Round 19: Canterbury-Bankstown vs Cronulla-Sutherland. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Luke Thompson (21), Nick Meaney (42), Dylan Napa (44), Jake Averillo (56).
Goals: Jake Averillo (22, 43, 46, 57).
Tries: Sione Katoa (10, 29), Ronaldo Mulitalo (15), William Kennedy (32), Siosifa Talakai (35), Toby Rudolf (53), Connor Tracey (72)
Goals: Braydon Trindall (11, 17, 24 – pen, 34, 37, 54, 68 – pen, 73)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Sione Katoa (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
2 pts – Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
1 pt – Luke Thompson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Needing a win to re-enter the eight after nearest rivals Canberra and the Gold Coast both won, the Sharks were nearly first to score through Sione Katoa, with a Superman-style leap to ground the ball in the right corner; unfortunately, he’d planted the ball on the dead-ball line.
Katoa redeemed himself a few minutes later with a much more regulation try down the right off a lovely cut-out ball from Shaun Johnson.
The Sharks went back-to-back five minutes later when Braydon Trindall threw a beautiful cut-ball ball to Ronaldo Mulitalo, this time down the left. Trindall’s second conversion gave the Sharks a 12-0 lead after 17 minutes.
After earning some repeat sets, the Bulldogs struck back with Luke Thompson barging over. Jake Averillo’s conversion cut the Sharks’ lead to 12-6 midway though the first half.
The Bulldogs then committed a cardinal sin off the kick-off when Dylan Napa threw an offload but it was knocked on, giving the Sharks prime attacking opportunity.
A late hit on Blayke Brailey saw Thompson sent to the sin bin. Trindall nailed the easy penalty goal for a 14-6 lead. Again, Thompson’s tackle raised the issue of consistency surrounding the crackdown. And for all the Bulldogs’ heart, their ill-discipline and silly mistakes hurt them too often.
Katoa punished the Bulldogs with his second try (and another magic put-down in the left corner), picking up a well-flighted Johnson ball. Trindall couldn’t convert as the Sharks led 18-6.
Cronulla-Sutherland all but put the game away with Johnson going down the right for Will Kennedy to score. Unfortunately for the Sharks, Johnson went off with a hamstring injury during the try. While the Sharks had the game in hand, could this injury hurt their finals push?
The Bulldogs had conceded 12 points to nil with 12 men as the Sharks enjoyed 87% possession.
The Sharks continued their try-scoring raid when Siosifa Talakai ran through some flimsy Bulldogs defence for a 30-6 half-time lead.
HALF-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 30Embed from Getty Images
The Bulldogs got a prime chance early through a Sharks knock on and they capitalised, with Nick Meany catching a Lachlan Lewis bomb to score. Averillo converted to cut the Sharks’ lead to 30-12. With Johnson out for the rest of the game, could this try spark a big Bulldogs comeback?
The Bulldogs scored another try when Napa barged over from a huge Averillo bomb and a great Meaney catch and offload. Suddenly, the score was 30-18 and the Bulldogs were back in it.
The Sharks got a much-needed try when Toby Rudolf barged over 10 minutes later. Trindall converted to give to Sharks a 36-18 lead.
The Bulldogs hit back through a massive break from Thompson, before offloading to Averillo. The run was so good that Thompson should expect a breach notice from the Front Rowers Union. Averillo converted his own try to cut the Sharks’ lead to 36-24: both teams were scoring at over a point-a-minute.
For once the Bulldogs showed some defensive steel, with Lewis stripping the ball from Jesse Ramien, saving a try.
The Sharks earned a vital penalty goal with 12 minutes left, extending their lead to 38-24.
The Sharks put the game away when Connor Tracey scored a 40-metre try down the left as the Sharks hit 40 with their seventh try.
Again, the Bulldogs showed plenty of effort (especially in the second half), but they weren’t good enough when it mattered. The Sharks jumped back into the eight with this win.
FULL-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 44
to be advised
Match Review Committee
to be advised