A crowd of 8,824 has watched Cronulla upset the Penrith Panthers 18-16 at Carrington Park in Bathurst on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Cronulla had all the running early on with a glut of possession eventually reaping rewards through a Jacob Gagan try in the 10th minute. Michael Gordon converted and the ball went back down the other end, and eventually Penrith were able to switch the momentum - Dallin Watene Zelezniak the scorer for his side in the 17th minute. The foreign territory proved difficult for Jamie Soward who was unable to convert.
Penrith continued to pile on the pressure as the game continued, but eventually Cronulla's defence held strong and they were able to forge away up the other end resulting in a try to Gordon. This was added to by Jacob Gagan grabbing his second before the Panthers hit back to reduce the halftime margin to just four points.
As the field got heavier, the second half deteriorated into a slog with the Panthers posting first points and ultimately pulling in front, Dean Whare dashing in out wide. Soward's conversion meant the hosts led for the first time in the match but it only lasted five or six minutes before Tagataese ran onto a Andrew Fifita break and kept on going to outpace the Penrith chasers and put his side back in front.
Cronulla continued to control the match for a bit longer before Penrith shifted the momentum into the last ten minutes - but remained unable to cross. A late shout for a Sharks try went to the video referee but was denied through a Jacob Gagan knock on.
Next week Penrith will look to bounce back against fellow top four side Canterbury on Friday night at ANZ Stadium, while the Sharks head home to host Parramatta on Saturday afternoon in Round 21.