NRL Round 27: Sharks 24, Raiders 6

Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Sharks sealing a home elimination final with a win over the Raiders.

Result

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24
Tries: (5) Jesse Ramien 15th, Jack Williams 52nd, Braydon Trindall 60th, Ronaldo Mulitalo 63rd, Sione Katoa 71st
Goals: (2) Braydon Trindall 54th, 65th

Canberra Raiders 6
Tries: (1) Jordan Rapana 4th
Goals: (1) Jamal Fogarty 5th

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While the top eight was settled last night, there was still plenty riding on this Shark Park clash.

A Cronulla win meant they would host the Sydney Roosters, with the Raiders travelling to Newcastle. A Canberra win would see a Raiders-Sharks rematch at Bruce Stadium (another chance for Raiders fans to farewell Jack Wighton and Jarrod Croker).

The first half was a grind, with just one try each: Jordan Rapana (celebrating his 200th NRL game) opened the scoring for Canberra, catching a Jamal Fogarty kick. Jesse Ramien responded for Cronulla 10 minutes later as the Sharks spread the ball to the right. Braydon Trindall’s missed goal gave Canberra a 6-4 lead.

While there was no further scores up to half-time, Matt Frawley nearly snapped a field goal for a 7-4 lead: fine for a high scoring ice hockey or soccer game, but a weird footy scoreline. Though Frawley missed, so Canberra kept their 6-4 lead into the break.

It took 12 minutes into the second half for the Sharks to take the lead, with Jack Williams scoring.

But the game turned in the 60th minute when Sebastian Kris was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Sione Katoa. It was a nasty tackle that saw Katoa land on his head, so the send off was the logical choice.

From there the Sharks ripped through a dispirited Raiders – with further tries to Trindall, Ronaldo Mulitalo and Katoa – to break Canberra’s nine-game winning streak over them, and give retiring skipper Wade Graham a fond Shark Park farewell.

The result sets up two big elimination finals: Cronulla-Sutherland playing the Sydney Roosters back at Shark Park next Saturday night and Canberra travelling to Newcastle next Sunday afternoon. The Sharks will fancy their chances against the Roosters – while the Eastern Suburbs club have won five straight, it’s been all against bottom eight teams. Their last game against a top eight side was a big loss to Brisbane. As for Canberra, they have an almost impossible clash against a red-hot Knights.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – Jesse Ramien (Sharks)
2 – Connor Tracey (Sharks)
1 – Matthew Timoko (Raiders)

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