A big weekend of #NRL action saw the top four all record vital wins while the teams in the bottom ha...
100 mins ago
The St George Illawarra Dragons 2003 campaign is all but over following a 25-16 defeat to Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Park tonight.
In a bruising encounter, both sides were giving little away and at half time it was just 4-all.
But the Sharks came out firing in the second half with stand-in half back Michael Sullivan scoring in the 43rd minute. Rookie winger, Ben Creagh scored for the Dragons three minutes later to again lock-up the scores at 10-all.
Not to be outdone, the Sharks then stepped up a gear running in the next two tries and with 20 minutes to go, the Sharks were in charge at 24-10.
Sullivan put his team further ahead following a field goal and with that, the Dragons' top eight hopes for 2003 were quickly evaporating.
St George half back Brett Firman showed a good turn of pace to score in the 70th minute but it was all too little too late with the Sharks running out deserving winners.
SHARKS 25 Tries: Anderson, Sullivan, P Bailey, Hilder, Kent Goals: Anderson 2/5 Field Goal: Sullivan defeated DRAGONS 16 Tries: Nero, Creagh, Firman Goals: Riddell 2/3
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Sullivan (Sharks) 2 - L Bailey (Dragons) 1 - D Nutley (Sharks)
Vital statistics Penalties: Sharks 9; Dragons 7 Completions: Sharks: 31/47; Dragons 26/42 Tackles: Sharks 288; Dragons 266 (L Bailey Dragons: 43) Missed Tackles: Sharks 24; Dragons 13 (C Beattie Sharks 19; L Thompson Dragons 19) Hitups: Sharks 152 ; Dragons 160 Handling Errors: Sharks 16; Dragons 19
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
14 min: No score as yet. Plenty of feeling in the match with Saints getting more of the ball.
17 min: TRY - Dragons. Chris Nero scores after Nathan Blacklock grubbers into the in-goal. Conversion Mark Riddell from almost in front is unsuccessful. Dragons 4-0
33 min: TRY - Sharks. Jarrad Anderson scores out wide following a Peachey grubber. Converion Anderson unsuccessful. 4-all
HALF TIME: A hard fought and physical match. The referee's patience being tested by both sides. The match is up for grabs. 4-all
Second half underway...
43 min: TRY - Sharks. Michael Sullivan scores under the post following a controversial call which saw a Sharks players ruled not to have played at a ball that hit the deck. Peachey reagthered and flicked a beaut pass to the try scorer. Conversion Anderson. Sharks 10-4
46 min: TRY - Dragons. Ben Creagh scores his first try in the top grade following a kick into the in-goal from Ben Hornby. An excellent reply from the Dragons. Sideline conversion from Riddell is a ripper. 10-all
51 min: TRY - Sharks. Phil Bailey scores after contesting a cross-field bomb. Dragons winger Creagh injured as both players hit the ground. Wide conversion attempt from Anderson is across the face of goal. Sharks 14-10
55 min: NEWS - Nutley for the Sharks is injured and forced from the field.
57 min: TRY - Sharks. Matt Hilder scores 10m from uprights after halfback Michael Sullivan sights an opening close to the line and offloads a gem of a flick pass. Conversion Anderson unsuccessful. Sharks 18-10
59 min: TRY - Sharks. Jason Kent scores out wide following a tremendous charge up the middle from the Shark forwards. Once again, Michael Sullivan is there to take full advantage and slides through a gap to deliver another beaut pass. Conversion from Anderson is spot on and the Dragons 2003 hopes are going down the gurgler. Sharks 24-10
67 min: FIELD GOAL - Sharks. Sullivan puts the home side further ahead. Sharks 25-10
70 min: TRY - Dragons. Brett Firman scores under the posts after setting up Dean Young who made a break up the centre of the ruck from halfway. Conversion Riddell. Sharks 25-16
74 min: NO TRY - Sharks are denied following a video ref call that Anderson knocked on.
FULL TIME: A popular victory for the home side with half back Michael Sullivan being a stand out. Not far behind was forward Danny Nutley. For Saints, their season looks to have gone off the rails and are at best a mathematical chance of making the top eight. Dragons front rower Luke Bailey put in a sterling display topping the tackle count. Sharks 25-16