Brad Inger reviews the Round 14 clash between the Warriors and the Sharks at Moreton Daily Stadium; here’s how the match went.
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
After yet another turbulent week which resulted in Nathan Brown leaving the Warriors midweek, the coaching role being handed to Warriors legend Stacey Jones, the home side had an arduous task ahead of them if they wanted to get his head coach career started on a positive note against a dangerous Sharks outfit.
An incorrect play the ball from Jesse Ramien handed the Warriors a scrum on the halfway line. The New Zealand side had a few attempts at the try line but were held out by some tough Sharks defence.
The tough defence continued when Ramien cut Marcelo Montoya in half, but the visitors gave away a penalty for an illegal strip which handed the ball back to the Warriors. The home side showed some promise with solid runs up the middle before Reece Walsh sold a dummy pass and crossed for the night’s first try.
Walsh was involved again moments later, deciding to let a Sharks kick go over the dead-ball line before a rough bounce forced him to grab it and dive into the field of play. Another Cronulla penalty got the Warriors out of their half, and they were over for their second try when Wayde Egan spied some slow markers and sniped out of the ruck before reaching out and touching the try line.
After the slow start, the Sharks got back into the contest after surging up the field before Nicho Hines kicked to the right edge; Ramien tapped the ball back to Briton Nikora, who quickly shifted it to Sione Katoa to score in the corner.
Adam Pompey was penalised on the next play for his kickoff going over the dead-ball line on the full, which saw the Sharks in the driver’s seat once again, and they wasted little time moving the ball from right to left before Siosifa Talakai took Rocco Berry on and bashed his way over the line. Hynes missed his second conversion attempt, which saw the Warriors hold onto a 12-8 lead. Chanel Harris-Tavita was taken to the sidelines with an HIA after a head knock in the leadup to that try.
The Sharks looked ready to scorch up the field again, but a forward pass let the Warriors off the hook; however, it wasnt without a price as Ben Murdoch-Masila was carried to the sidelines after dislocating his elbow in the tackle leading up to the forward pass.
The sides traded knock-ons; however, the Sharks challenged the call but were unsuccessful, but it didn’t matter as they got the ball back on the next play when Jack Murchie was penalised for an incorrect play the ball. With momentum firmly on their side, Cronulla sent the ball to the left, spying an overlap that saw Ronaldo Mulitalo cross untouched for the visitor’s third try and the lead.
After another penalty against the Sharks, the Warriors started to show some attacking threat again, and Walsh put a kick into the in-goal but could not get to it before it dribbled over the dead-ball line.
Another error from the Warriors deep in their half when Euan Aitken offloaded the call to Chanel Harris-Tavita, who could not secure it. Cronulla went to the left again before Matt Moylan took the line on and got across the try line for the Shark’s fourth try in a row, extending their lead to eight.
A crusher penalty against Wade Graham saw the Warriors get to start a set inside the Sharks half, and after some promising runs from the forwards, the New Zealand side showed off some fair with a few offloads, but Cronulla’s scrambling defence kept them out. Shaun Johnson kicked to the right edge on the last, but Dallin Watene-Zeleaniak tapped it back, but it went over the sideline. The Warriors followed that up with a penalty which saw the Sharks surge up the field before sending Katoa over in the corner for his second try as the half-time siren sounded, with the visitors going into the sheds with a twelve-point lead.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 New Zealand Warriors 12Embed from Getty Images
The second half did saw the scoring slow down; the Warriors looked sure to score after the Sharks gave away two penalties and a six again call on the same drive; the New Zealand side’s attack started to ask questions of the Sharks defence, and they had a numbers advantage on the right edge, but Rocco Berry decided to keep hold of the ball on the last tackle instead of passing to his unmarked winger, the Sharks wrapped the centre up in another display of their excellent goal-line defence.
The home side was back at it again a few moments later, making some in-roads with some second-phase football before quickly heading to the right edge again; Bayley Sironen skipped Berry this time and sent it straight to Watene-Zeleaniak who showed some tremendous acrobatic skills as he flipped his way over the try-line.
The Warriors made another error but regathered the ball back after the Sharks also dropped the ball; the official called the playback due to no advantage being played. The Warriors challenged the original knock-on but were denied by the bunker. Cronulla got themselves back on track and sent the ball to the left for Mulitalo, who dived over in the corner. The decision was sent up to the bunker, and while it looked close, they deemed that the winger managed to keep in the field of play, and he was awarded his second try of the night.
The Sharks kept the pressure on, and Ramien pushed through a quick which went directly to Walsh, but he could not contain it, juggling the ball several times before losing it. William Kennedy lept at the loose ball, grounding it for Cronulla’s seventh try of the night.
Mulitalo made an error which saw the Warriors get some favourable field position, but they struggled to get through Cronulla’s defence; Josh Curran put a grubber through, and despite being hit without the ball, the Warriors did not get another penalty, and the Sharks got themselves quickly towards halfway.
The Warriors had a scrum at halfway in the final minutes of the pass, and a wayward pass from Walsh went to the ground before being scooped up by Katoa, who ran fifty metres to dot down for his third try and the Shark’s eighth for the night.
The home side had one last attempt, and getting points on the board, Walsh threw an offload to Watene-Zeleaniak, who then kicked it towards the corner, but it went out before he could get to it. That would be the match’s final play as the final whistle was blown with the Sharks winning in comprehensive style.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 38 New Zealand Warriors 16
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Nicho Hynes (Sharks), 2 pts – Sione Katoa (Sharks), 1 pt – Reece Walsh (Warriors)
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