The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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In front of a highly vocal home crowd, the Cronulla Sharks have snuck home to beat a determined Wests Tigers outfit by 28 points to 26. Cronulla were never behind on the scoreboard but had the tenacious Tigers yapping at their heels whenever they slackened off. The game was a scrappy encounter with plenty of handling errors and silly penalties contributing to the frustration of the crowd, who at half time and full time were so abusive that the referee was escorted to the dressing rooms by the Police.
Brett Kimmorley suffered an ijury to his jaw, seeing him leave the field half way through the first half. However the nature of the injury is still uncertain.
The game?s tempo picked up in the last 20 minutes when the Tigers began to mount a serious challenge for the game. Both teams defended valiantly but as opportunities arose the focus was turned to attack, with the game see-sawing in the final 15 minutes or so.
But the Sharks held out the Tigers, bringing up their 4th win of the season.
League Unlimited Player of the Year Awards:
3 points ? Brett Kimmorley 2 points ? John Skandalis 1 point ? Phil Bailey
Cronulla Sharks 28 (Tries: Bailey 2, Milford, Sullivan, Gibson Goals: Kimmorley 1/1, Anderson 3/5) defeated Wests Tigers 26 (Tries: Skandalis 2, Bradley-Qalilawa, Withers Goals: Lovell 5/6)
By the clock:
5 min: Try to the Sharks, Loloa Milford gets out of dunny half and scores under the posts. Great lead up work from Danny Nutley. Kimmorley converts to take the lead to 6-0.
12 min: John Skandalis makes a desperate lunge at the line and scores a four-pointer. The Tigers are back in the hunt at 4-6. Lovell converts to lock-up the scores at 6-all.
22 min: Beattie loses the ball just as Cronulla were in a controlling position close to the Tiger's line.
26 min: Newly appointed NSW forward Phil Bailey crashes over for the Sharkies, who extend their lead to 10-6. Anderson converts for Cronulla, whilst Kimmorley is off the field. Cronulla lead 12-6.
30 min: Sullivan scores for the Sharks close in to the posts. Cronulla on fire leading 16-6. Anderson misses a kickable conversion and the score remains 16-6.
36 min: Lovell kicks a penalty goal from a difficult position. Keeps the Tiges in touch at 16-8.
39 min: Lovell boots another penalty and the Tigers are back in the hunt.
A bit of a scrappy affair, but both teams playing competitive footy. Sharks have the upperhand but Wests aren't finished yet. A solid kicking game has kept them in touch with Cronulla and in with a chance. The referee was booed from the field at half time and received a police escort into the changerooms to avoid any incidents. Should make for an interesting second half with the Sharks and the Tigers both needing the 2 points tonight.
42 min: Close shave for the Sharkies, with an in-goal grubber kick nearly turning into a surprise 4 pointer. Peachey cleans up at the back and Cronulla restart with a drop out from their goal line.
45 min: Skandalis busts through for his second try, this time from close range after some greatlead up work and a sensational set play in the centre of the field that nearly put the Tigers in. Conversion missed by Lovell and Cronulla lead 16-14.
54 min: Reick bundled into touch after a cross-field kick from Kimmorley nearly saw the Sharkies score in the corner.
57 min: Robert Miles in Disney Land after a high shot caught him around the jaw. Tigers find touch and press towards the Cronulla line.
59 min: Phil Bailey scores out wide from a wrap around play by Cronulla that creates a two man overlap. Bailey has plenty to say upon scoring. Sharks back in control at 20-14 with a kick to come.
60 min: Anderson misses a difficult kick, score remains Cronulla 20 Wests 14.
62 min: Anderson kicks a penalty goal after a high shot by Wests lock Terry Hill. Cronulla lead 22-14.
66 min: Just when you thought they were gone, the Tigers score out wide through Bradley-Qalilawa. Lovell converts from the sideline to bring it back to 22-20 in favour of Cronulla.
72 min: Pat Gibson scores for the Sharks in what is becoming a see-sawing contest. Cronulla now up 26-20 with 8 minutes to go. Anderson converts taking the score to 28-20 with a handy 8 point lead that should be hard to beat.