Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the final game of round 22 between the Sharks and the Knights. Here’s how the game went.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14
Tries: Jesse Ramien (10), Ronaldo Mulitalo (24)
Goals: Braydon Trindall (12, 25, 53)
Newcastle Knights 16
Tries: Enari Tuala (0, 45)
Goals: Jake Clifford (2, 17, 64, 73)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights)
2 pts – Bradman Best (Newcastle Knights)
1 pt – Jack Williams (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
It was an important match for both sides with potential ramifications for the the final two spots in the top eight.
The Knights were ready to seize their opportunity and did so from the get go with a short kick-off which saw the Knights regain the ball. It took the Knights a few tackles to get in position before they registered their first points of the match, just 40 seconds in as Mitchell Pearce drew the attention of the Sharks edge and threw a cut out ball for Enari Tuala who scored in the corner.
The Sharks weren’t going to let the Knights dictate the game from the get-go and they levelled the scores in the 10th minute with an overlap on the right edge leading to Jesse Ramien scoring with ease.
A penalty to the Knights allowed them to take the lead halfway through the first half with Jake Clifford nailing the conversion.
Cronulla started to apply pressure, making the Knights work for their sets and a as result forced a few errors. The Sharks were rewarded for their efforts after a bomb was put down by Kurt Mann which allowed Ronaldo Mulitalo to pick the ball up and score in the corner.
The rest of the opening term featured plenty of errors from both sides as neither of them took the game by the scruff of the neck.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12-8 Newcastle KnightsEmbed from Getty Images
After a poor end to the first half, both sides were determined to get on the scoreboard first and it was the Knights who did so.
They once again attacked down the left edge and a brilliant piece of work from Best as he took two defenders with him before offloading to Tuala who scored in the corner with a classy finish.
A missed conversion by Clifford kept the scores level, but it would only take the Sharks eight minutes to retake the lead.
Mitchell Barnett was penalised for a high shot right in front of the posts. Trindall made no errors with his conversion attempt.
The lead wouldn’t last too long as the Knights got a penalty of their own in the Sharks 10 metre line for an offside call. This allowed Jake Clifford to take a shot at goal to level the scores which he did successfully.
The two sides couldn’t be separated and it looked likely that the game would go to golden point due to the lack of chances being created by each side.
However, it was the Sharks who folded first as Billy Magoulias gave away a penalty, which Clifford, as he did earlier, slotted the conversion to give the Knights a two point lead and the eventual win.
Despite the close finish, it was a fairly average game as both sides failed to consistently create opportunities. Although the win does put the Knights in seventh place with a two point buffer over the sides below them which could prove crucial at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have a lot of work to do if they’re to sneak into the finals this season.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14-16 Newcastle Knights
to be advised
Match Review Committee
to be advised