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Cronulla have extended their winning streak to 4 with a not so pretty 26-12 victory over the Raiders in front of 10,303 fans at Toyota Park in Round 18.
An error riddled first half allowed a contest on the score board despite differing indications from the run of play. Cronulla took a deserved early lead in the 6th minute with a try to Wade Graham. Townsend failed to convert allowing a Cronulla error to help Canberra to the lead aginst the run of play in the 13th minute after Croker converted a Blake Ferguson try.
Cronulla reclaimed the lead in the 20th minute on the back of a couple of Canberra errors with a Colin Best try, but Townsend's unsuccessful conversion left the game evenly poised until the 27 minute when a Canberra mistake led directly to a try next to the posts. Townsend converted and Cronulla had an 8 point lead.
Sharks appeared to have the momentum but after conceding the first penalty of the match in the 33rd minute gave Canberra the opportunity they needed to put some more points on the board. A sensational attacking effort had McCrone going and with his conversion took the game to half time with only a 2 point deficit.
Cronulla took much better control of the second half after Paul Gallen returned to the playing field in the 51st minute after sitting out the back end of the first half. Despite still making errors, Cronulla really took it to the Raiders in the second half and never looked like getting beaten.
To ensure a solid victory, Cronulla extended their lead in the 59th minute with a try to Tautai converted by Townsend for an 8 point lead. From there Cronulla's strongest adversaries were themselves with unforced errors in attack. Canberra helped with their errors proving more costly and giving the Cronulla attack plenty of practice.
The Sharks sealed their victory with one last try in the 69th minute with a try to Pomeroy in the corner. Townsend slotted a difficult conversion to give Cronulla the 14 point lead they took to full time to win the game 26-14, continuing their mid season surge.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26 defeated Canberra Raiders 12
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Saturday July 9, 2011 5:30pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Luke Phillips
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14 Canberra Raiders 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Wade Graham (1 Try)
2 Points - Paul Gallen
1 Point - Shaun Fensom
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (26)
Tries: Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Wade Graham, Taulima Tautai, Jason Bukuya
Field Goals: Paul Gallen (0/1)
Conversions: Chad Townsend (3/5)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (12)
Tries: Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's Super Saturday - the Sharks hosting the Canberra Raiders... discuss the match on our forums, or follow us on Twitter, @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlcrocan!
Welcome to Toyota Park for League Unlimited's coverage of the Round 18 clash between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canberra Raiders. The Sharks are looking to extend their winning streak at home for a dash to the finals. Whilst the Raiders are needing to distance themselves from the bottom of the ladder before being in sights of the top 8.
Sharks have already seen two victories in the lower grades this afternoon with their Toyota Cup team defeating the Raiders 34-24 and their NSW Cup team defeating the North Sydney Bears 30-28.
TEAM NEWS: Only one change for the match Snowden is out for the Sharks, with Cordoba in jumper 20 coming in to replace him. Raiders are as per program.
1 min: Game on.
3 min: Great threatening start from the Sharks, solid defence from Canberra to keep them out.
5 min: Thompson boots the ball out on full and Cronulla should get a decent attacking set close to halfway.
7 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Short side raid from Cronulla on the Eastern sideline, Graham throws a dummy and runs in to score. Conversion attempt from Townsend unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4-0
8 min: Cronulla fail to take the kick off and Canberra are right on the attack.
9 min: Pomeroy with a great driving tackle tackles Croker into touch to earn Cronulla scrum feed ten out from their own line.
12 min: Rare mistake from Gallen and a loose pass is scooped up by Fergusson who streaks away with it.
13 min: TRY
TRY to the Raiders! Ferguson streaks all the way to the tryline to score. There is no love lost between this Cronulla crowd and Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Croker successful.
Canberra Raiders 6-4
15 min: Raiders have really lifted since the try and are looking to be on top now.
18 min: Some errors creeping into both sides, and a real opportunity for Canberra to hit back now.
20 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Best in a race for a Gardner boot with Ferguson who misreads it and Best is in to score. Conversion attempt from Townsend unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-6
23 min: Errors hurting both sides with none taking any real hold of this game and the last two tries coming on the back of opposition errors.
24 min: Townsend concedes a line drop out in goal, for a chance to the Raiders.
25 min: More mistakes from the Raiders handing over possession.
26 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible TRY to the Sharks.
28 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Bukuya burrows in to score an easy next to the posts. Conversion attempt from Townsend successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-6
30 min: Still no momentum in this game and Raiders have found some time in attack and earned a repeat set forcing a goal line drop out.
32 min: Some great defence from the Sharks is now helped by a clean drop from Picker to continue Canberra's atrocious completion rate.
33 min: PENALTY to the Raiders, still in good field position.
34 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible TRY to the Raiders.
35 min: TRY
TRY to the Raiders! Great kick from McCrone and sensational take from Croker to score. Croker converts his own try.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-12
38 min: Canberra starting to complete some sets again, but Cronulla looking the more threatening of the sides at this stage.
40 min: The half time hooter rings in the break with the Sharks ahead 14-12.
41 min: Game back on.
42 min: A great start to the second half from the Sharks is halted by an unforced error handing Canberra the ball ten out from their own line.
45 min: The Raiders' kicking game is starting to challenge the Cronulla back line.
47 min: Paul Gallen finally back on the field for the Sharks after coming off midway through the first half.
48 min: PENALTY to the Sharks, this will see them start a set 20 out from the Canberra line.
49 min: A forward pass derails what looked like a Sharks try.
51 min: Paul Gallen having a strong impact for the Sharks who had missed his presence in the back end of the first half.
54 min: Sharks chancing their hand and doing all the attacking here, Ferguson does very well to intercept a certain try.
54 min: PENALTY to the Raiders, helping them toward halfway.
55 min: An enforced error from the Raiders hands it back to the Sharks few metres their own side of halfway.
58 min: Bukuya knocks it on in goal robbing himself of what should have been his second try of the match.
59 min: An unlucky error from Ferguson on the first invites Cronulla back on the attack.
59 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible TRY to the Sharks.
60 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Gallen offloads the ball out the back to Tautai who shrugs off defenders to score beside the uprights. Conversion attempt from Townsend successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-12
61 min: Josh Papalii has left groin tear and will not be back for the night.
64 min: Sharks have just about claimed this game taking control over all facets in the second half.
66 min: Sharks starting to have no trouble going right through the Raiders, but errors are defending the Canberra line.
68 min: PENALTY to the Sharks 15 out and they will run it.
70 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Townsend puts in a chip kick, Stapleton bats it back and Pomeroy is in to score in the corner. Conversion from Townsend struck beautifully and it's through.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26-12
71 min: A cheap turnover of possession from Tupou 20 out from the Cronulla line gives the Raiders a sniff.
72 min: Sam Williams returns the ball to the Sharks.
75 min: Bukuya is wearing some ice on the sideline, not sure what the trouble is.
76 min: PENALTY to the Raiders right 20 out from the Cronulla line.
77 min: Reece Robinson in some trouble holding up play and he will lave the field.
77 min: Phenomenal defence from the Sharks this half and they will kick a goal line drop out.
79 min: A change over will hand the ball back to Cronulla who will have kept Canberra scoreless this half.
80 min: Cronulla still attacking in the final minute and earn a line drop out to offer them a few more plays in attack.
80 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Paul Gallen has a shot for field goal, charged down, but Gallen has a massive grin on his face nonetheless.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26-12
80 min: The hooter blows and Sharks have taken the game 26-12 and the team song plays loud and proudly through the PA.