Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
Newcastle Knights 16
Tries: Tex Hoy (20), Dominic Young (35, 54)
Goals: Tex Hoy (21, 37)
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 38
Tries: Briton Nikora (11, 40, 66), Luke Metcalf (29), Ronaldo Mulitalo (47), Jesse Ramien (59), Lachlan Miller (79)
Goals: Nicho Hynes (12, 31, 41, 48, 67)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have secured a home Qualifying Final with a 22-point victory over the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
A hat-trick for back rower Briton Nikora was the highlight of the Sharks outing in Newcastle, with a try in the first half followed by two in the second for the New Zealand international.
Nikora’s first try was the opening four pointer of the afternoon as he crashed through the Newcastle defence as first receiver. The Knights were up for it early, responding shortly after through Tex Hoy who scored from a scrum play. Then bizarrely both teams exchanged length of the field intercept tries to Luke Metcalf and Dominic Young respectively to take the game into half-time with the scores level.
However, the Knights couldn’t keep up with the Sharks during the second half as Nikora grabbed his second try right out of the gate, running off Nicho Hynes shoulder and proving too strong to handle for Phoenix Crossland and Hoy. Ronaldo Mulitalo doubled the lead seven minutes later before Dominic Young grabbed his second to bring the deficit back to within reach at eight points.
From here, the Sharks kicked on, scoring three tries in the last twenty minutes including the third intercept try of the match as Jesse Ramien picked off a pass from Chris Randall. Nikora grabbed his third shortly after and Lachlan Miller got his name on the scoresheet just prior to full-time after Mat Croker was sin binned for a hip drop tackle on Siosifa Talakai.
The Sharks will host the North Queensland Cowboys next week and they’ll be sweating on the availability of Talakai who went off injured after that tackle. The Knights season ends with them finishing in 14th place after losing eight of their last nine matches.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Lachlan Miller (Cronulla), 2 pts – Briton Nikora (Cronulla), 1 pt – Tex Hoy (Newcastle)
Follow Nothing But League on Facebook.