The Cronulla Sharks have snapped their nine game losing streak at Parramatta Stadium this evening, downing their opponents the Eels 13-10 tonight in front of 7,014 cold and wet fans.
With stars missing through Origin and injury and poor weather dogging the Sydney basin throughout the day, the game was always set to be a dour, low-scoring struggle. Both sides surprised early, keeping the errors low in the first quarter of the match.
The Eels became the first to trouble the scorers after 17 minutes, Joel Reddy able to cross as the home side attacked. This came despite the Sharks having the bulk of possession early on.
Within ten minutes the visitors struck back, a bomb from debutant Scott Porter for the Sharks saw Luke Covell win the contest for the ball and converting his own try he put his side in front after just 25 minutes. Eels fullback Luke Burt pounced on a through-grubber to put the Eels back up after 32 minutes and with his conversion put the Eels in front by four at halftime.
The 10-6 scoreline remained unchanged for most of the second half as errors began to creep into both sides game. Parramatta's go-forward was damaged by a bicep injury to star forward Nathan Hindmarsh early in the half and it showed as time went on. At the 67th minute the Sharks used an overlap to put interchange player Mitch Brown over for his first try of the season. Covell couldn't convert from out wide and the scores remained level.
A series of errors began to cost the Eels, a bizarre knock-forward ruling against Eels winger Etu Uaisele gave the Sharks prime field position in the final ten minutes and after a charged-down field goal by Scott Porter, it was left to Trent Barrett to punt over an ugly attempt to put the visitors up by one. A late penalty against Eels forward Joe Galuvao for taking Mitch Brown high meant Covell added two more before the fulltime siren.
The win sent the Sharks fans into raptures and they'll be looking to build on the emphatic victory when they face the equally disappointing Warriors next Sunday at Toyota Stadium. Things only get worse for Parramatta on the same afternoon, they'll be travelling to EnergyAustralia Stadium to face a fired-up Newcastle outfit.
Match Details Cronulla Sharks 13 def Parramatta Eels 10 Round 12 - Saturday May 30th, 2009 07:30pm Venue: Parramatta Stadium Referee: Ben Cummins & Alan Shortall Sideline Officials: Russell Turner & Mohamad Fajajo Video Referee: Russell Smith Crowd: 7,014 Halftime: Eels 10 Sharks 6
Parramatta Eels 10 Tries: Joel Reddy, Luke Burt Goals: Luke Burt (1/2)
Cronulla Sharks 13 Tries: Luke Covell, Mitch Brown Field Goals: Trent Barrett (1/1) Goals: Luke Covell (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Eels v Sharks forum discussion - click here!
EELS: 1. Luke Burt 2. Etu Uaisele 3. Taulima Tautai 6. Joel Reddy 5. Eric Grothe 14. Daniel Mortimer 7. Jeff Robson 8. Nathan Cayless 9. Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Joe Galuvao 13. Todd Lowrie Interchange: 16. Tim Mannah 18. Kevin Kingston 19. Taniela Lasalo 20. Jeremy Latimore SHARKS: 1. Nathan Stapleton 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Matthew Wright 4. Reece Williams 5. Luke Covell 6. Trent Barrett 7. Scott Porter 8. Kade Snowden 9. Tony Caine 10. Johnny Mannah 11. Luke Douglas 12. Atelea Vea 13. Anthony Tupou Interchange: 14. Jacob Selmes 16. Mitch Brown 17. Terence Seu Seu 21. Ben Pomeroy
Well it's a soaking wet night at Parramatta Stadium and it's the emptiest we've seen that ground in a while. Just one game for "Super Saturday" this week due to the six byes and Origin I on Wednesday.
Parramatta strangely donning their blue strip tonight at home against the Sharks. Both sides down on form and confidence - and both missing key playmakers in Paul Gallen (Cronulla) and Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta). A few debutants from each side should make for an entertaining game but the big issue will be the rain - we could see a low scoring one tonight with lots of errors.
The teams have made their way onto the stadium (confirmed lineups listed above)... it's time for some footy!
Kickoff: Play commences, Cronulla with first possession running north-to-south down Parramatta Stadium.
2 min: The crowd baying for an early penalty as the Sharks defence struggles to stay back the ten metres.
5 min: PENALTY Sharks - the first penalty of the day comes after five minutes and it's a play-the-ball infringement. Both sides with 100% completions up that point, a surprising error-free start from both sides.
6 min: Cronulla's attack forces a repeat set as Etu Uaisele is trapped in goal on the last.
8 min: Terrible stuff from Trent Barrett on the last this time, a cross-field high kick travels backwards and then he ends up with the offload and quietly goes to ground. Handover and the Eels are relieved of pressure.
10 min: PENALTY Sharks - and they'll go on the attack again here. A kick wide on the second, Covell might win the race here! Uaisele comes out of nowhere to ground the ball though for Parramatta and it'll be another repeat set for the Sharks now.
12 min: The first error of the game comes from the Sharks about 15 metres out. And it's compounded by a PENALTY to the Eels as there's too many blokes hanging around too long in the tackle.
14 min: Fantastic stuff from both sides, Parramatta's attack and Cronulla's defence standing up to the test. The Eels force the drop-out from a high kick as Blake Ferguson is trapped in goal after a brilliant take.
15 min: PENALTY Eels - the home side makes a break and Covell in cover is penalised for delaying the play - very lucky not to be binned.
21 min: An Eels error gives Cronulla some promising field position and they're able to force a line drop-out.
23 min: Another Eels error allows the Sharks a chance to play some attacking footy and then the home side concedes a PENALTY to boot. Sharks looking more dangerous with every set.
24 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Sharks try. Luke Covell's gotten under a high ball from debutant Scott Porter and they're just checking onside. Looks good, should be a try.
25 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks New Sharks half Scott Porter hoists a high one to Luke Covell's wing and he out-jumps Uaisele to put the Sharks on the board. He converts his own try to put the visitors up by two - the first time the Sharks have led a game in a number of weeks. Cronulla Sharks 6-4
28 min: The Mannah brothers come together for the first time tonight, a little playful push-and-shove in the ruck.
31 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Eels try. Luke Burt's timed his run perfectly on a grubber through. Looks good...
32 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Luke Burt pounces on a grubber through and puts the Parramatta side back in front. He has no trouble converting either, the Eels go four points up now. Parramatta Eels 10-6
35 min: Tim Mannah sent behind the play for the Eels, he's in the blood bin. Hindmarsh spills it as they work it off their own line, just the 7th error so far today. The error count is Eels 4 Sharks 3.
36 min: Spoke too soon - another error this time from Porter for the Sharks, the Eels again out of gaol.
40 min: Galuvao spills it inside his own half but luckily the siren has sounded in the background. It's halftime at Parramatta Stadium.
HALFTIME: Parramatta Eels 10 Cronulla Sharks 6 A tough first half and relatively low-scoring after forty minutes. Both teams playing cautious footy which is to be expected in the slippery conditions, Parramatta making the most of it so far but the Sharks definitely in with a big shot at coming away with the two points if they can maintain their composure. A steady but not spectacular debut so far from the two debut halves, Mortimer for the Eels and Porter for the Sharks.
Kickoff - Second half has begun, Eels first set.
45 min: Nathan Hindmarsh looks like he's having trouble with his shoulder/arm, he's off the field for the time being.
46 min: Robson puts it out on the field, giving Cronulla an attacking chance.
52 min: Cronulla butcher a scoring chance in front of the line as the error count begins to increase.
53 min: PENALTY Eels - the home side gets a piggy-back up field, they'll attack now. Good defence at the back end of the set sees the Sharks defence force an error from the Eels.
54 min: Ben Pomeroy has copped a knee right in the pills and he's looking a bit worse for wear. PENALTY Sharks meanwhile for an unrelated infringement. Sharks on the attack now.
57 min: Tupou and Moimoi have come together and Fui has come out second best. Time is called off briefly while the big man recovers.
58 min: Chargedown sees the Eels with another set and they'll go on the attack after Inu makes a break down the right side. On the fifth tackle they force Sharks fullback Nathan Stapleton in-goal and will get another set.
60 min: Moimoi ordered out of play with blood coming from his mouth, a result of the earlier clash with Tupou and Terrence Seu Seu.
64 min: Some end-to-end footy with both sides doing their best to complete their sets after an error-riddled last twenty minutes. Still no change to the halftime score.
67 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks The Sharks go heavy on the attack and there's numbers to the left, they shift it that way and Mitch Brown slices through under the defensive line. Covell with a kick to put the Sharks in front... kick unsuccessful. 10 all
72 min: Both teams looking tired and a little lazy in defence. Kade Snowden appears to have gone high on Eric Grothe but the referees take no action. Bizarre (non-)call there.
74 min: The Eels faithful are blowing up deluxe as Uaisele knocks it out of Matt Wright's hands, the Sharks should set for a drop-goal now.
75 min: Porter takes the shot and it's charged down, six again.
75 min: FIELD GOAL Cronulla Sharks Trent Barrett takes the snap, it's low but it's good! Sharks up by one! Cronulla Sharks 11-10
77 min: The Sharks muscling up in defence as the Sharks fans turn up the noise. Tautai's dropped the ball! Just over two left and Cronulla have a chance to put the game beyond doubt now.
78 min: PENALTY Sharks - Mitch Brown slips and Galuvao takes him high, the Sharks will shoot for goal to eat up the clock here.
78 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sharks Luke Covell puts the Sharks up by three as the seconds tick by. Cronulla Sharks 13-10
79 min: Short kickoff from the Eels... the Sharks have it with under sixty seconds remaining.
80 min: Barrett kicks it out, the Eels rush the scrum and it's time off with three seconds left. The final move doesn't come off, Covell runs it out, and the Sharks join their fans in utter jubilation. Fulltime at Parramatta.
FULLTIME: Cronulla Sharks 13 Parramatta Eels 10Like