Gallen effort leads Sharks over Bulldogs

The Cronulla Sharks have defeated the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26-10 in front of 14,879 fans at ANZ Stadium.

It was a superb performance from the Sharks who were the far better side for the majority of the match. Sharks Captain Paul Gallen produced another inspirational performance for his club while live-wire fullback Nathan Gardner provided plenty of spark in attack for the away team.

The Bulldogs were hit with an early blow when Michael Ennis was scratched from the team sheet after failing to recover from a cut he received in Origin. His direction was sorely missed as the Bulldogs struggled with the halves pairing of Kris Keating and Ben Roberts.

It was Cronulla who scored the opening try as Gardner received the ball in a second-man play and toed through a grubber for Ben Pomeroy to pounce. Just minutes later Gardner did it all himself, using his sheer acceleration to expose some lazy Canterbury defence off a scrum win, to give the Sharks a 12-0 lead.

Cronulla were on the attack again when a lost ball fell into the hands of Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano who released a flying Ben Barba to race 80m to score. The Bulldogs struck again on the stroke of half time when late inclusion Josh Reynolds 
scored his first try in the NRL. Reynolds darted from dummy half and put Kasiano away with a nice offload and then backed up to score, bringing the Bulldogs just two points shy of the Sharks at 12-10.

Cronulla would have been bitterly disappointed to go into the half time break with little to show after dominating much of the game.

The Bulldogs failed to capitalise on their first-half comeback in the second stanza as Cronulla played composed football, led ably by young halfback Chad Townsend. The Sharks scored their third try in the 55th minute through Gallen who received a vintage offload from Anthony Tupou to dive over.

Townsend added a penalty goal soon after to make the score 20-10 and in the 73rd minute Wade Graham scored to seal the much-deserved win. More good work from Tupou put Gallen into some space, who then found Graham to dive over near the posts.

The Sharks will be very pleased with their victory after producing one of their best performances of the season, while the Bulldogs have much to work on for their next game.

Gallen came off late in the game with a facial injury, with more to be known later on it's severity.

Match Details
Canterbury Bulldogs 10 were defeated by Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26
National Rugby League - Round 15 - Sunday June 19, 2011 2:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Adam Reid
Crowd: 14,879
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 10 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Nathan Gardner (1 Try)
2 Points - Paul Gallen (1 Try)
1 Point - Chad Townsend (3 Conversions, 2 Penalty Goals)

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (10)
Tries: Ben Barba, Josh Reynolds
Conversions: Steve Turner (1/2)

CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (26)
Tries: Paul Gallen, Ben Pomeroy, Wade Graham, Nathan Gardner
Conversions: Chad Townsend (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Chad Townsend (2/2)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Hello and welcome to today's live coverage of the clash between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium.
In a huge blow to the Bulldogs Michael Ennis has been unable to back up from Origin, with Dene Halatau coming off the bench to replace him at hooker. Josh Reynolds comes onto the bench as the replacement. For the Sharks, Isaac Gordon has been ruled out and Nathan Stapleton comes onto the wing, while mid-season signing Sam Tagataese will make his debut for the club off the bench.
1 min: KICKOFF- Steve Turner kicks off for the Bulldogs and Luke Douglas takes the first hit-up for the Sharks.
2 min: Penalty- Bulldogs on the attack after Jeremy Smith penalised for a strip.
4 min: Penalty- The Sharks have the ball on the Bulldogs 40m line after the Bulldogs were penalised for being offside.
5 min: Penalty- The Bulldogs repel the Sharks attack and then receive a penalty for a strip.
10 min: The Bulldogs have dominated field position early but Cronulla have been able to keep them out in defence. The Sharks with the ball on their 10m line.
11 min: Penalty- Aidan Tolman penalised for holding the man down and Cronulla have the ball on the Bulldogs 30m line.
12 min: PENALTY GOAL
Tolman penalised again, this time for being offside and Chad Townsend makes no mistake with the penalty goal from in-front of the sticks.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 2-0
15 min: The Bulldogs are lacking some direction in attack without the suspended Trent Hodkinson and injured Michael Ennis. Tolman receiving some treatment now for a cut.
18 min: Andrew Ryan makes a good tackle on John Morris to drag him into touch and the Bulldogs have a scrum on halfway.
19 min: Steve Turner gets crunched in attempting to collect a Ben Barba grubber. Nathan Gardner gets up clutching his shoulder after making the tackle.
20 min: Goal-line Dropout Bulldogs. Gardner makes a clean break through the ruck and Barba comes up with a fantastic 1-on-1 tackle. The Sharks receive a repeat set after Michael Lett takes an attacking kick dead.
22 min: TRY
Cronulla work a second-man play and Nathan Gardner grubbers through for Ben Pomeroy to dive on the football. Well executed try from the Sharks. Townsend converts from near the sideline.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-0
25 min: Ben Roberts loses the ball on his own 10m line. Cronulla have the chance to go back-to-back with an attacking scrum.
26 min: TRY
The Sharks spin the ball left off the scrum and Nathan Gardner does it all himself this time, punishing some lazy Bulldogs defence to dive over near the corner. Townsend pulls his conversion attempt left.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-0
29 min: Jason Bukuya loses the ball for the Sharks as they throw it around on the last. Now the Bulldogs throw a forward pass on the 2nd tackle and Cronulla will be on the attack again.
30 min: TRY
Ben Barba runs 80m to score for the Bulldogs! Pomeroy couldn't control a short ball and Sam Kasiano picked it up for the Bulldogs and offloaded to a flying Ben Barba who streaked away to score.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-6
34 min: Goal-line Dropout Bulldogs. Steve Turner is dragged back into his in-goal after catching a bomb and Cronulla have the ball 30m out from the Bulldogs line.
35 min: Penalty- Josh Reynolds makes a 1-on-1 strip to get possession for the Bulldogs and then Taulima Tautai is penalised for holding the man down.
36 min: Penalty- Paul Gallen penalised now and the Bulldogs have the ball 20m from Cronulla's line.
37 min: A flat ball from Kris Keating is called forward. Cronulla have a scrum on their 10m line.
39 min: TRY
Josh Reynolds scores for the Bulldogs just before half time. Reynolds darts from dummy half and puts Kasiano through a hole, and then does well to back up to score his first try in the NRL. Turner fails to get the distance on the conversion from near the sideline.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-10
Halftime- Cronulla have been the far superior team in the first half yet only have a two-point lead to show for it. Two tries against the run of play from the Bulldogs have got them right back into the game and their try on the stroke of half time will give them a lot of confidence for the second half.
41 min: Back underway at ANZ Stadium, the Bulldogs with the ball on their 20m line.
43 min: Penalty- David Stagg tackled high by Tautai and the Bulldogs have the ball on halfway.
45 min: Penalty- Michael Hodgson penalised for having his hand on the ball. Cronulla on the attack 20m from the Bulldogs line.
46 min: Superb defence from the Bulldogs as the Sharks go into touch on the last. Canterbury with a scrum on their 10m line.
50 min: Goal-line Dropout Sharks. Ben Roberts toes through a grubber on the last and Gardner is dragged back into the in-goal after an awkward bounce. Canterbury with the ball 30m from the Sharks line.
53 min: Penalty- Gallen has the ball raked and the Sharks receive a penalty. They have the ball on the Bulldogs 40m line.
54 min: Penalty- A high tackle on Stuart Flanagan by Josh Reynolds and Cronulla have a great opportunity just 10m out.
55 min: TRY
Flanagan dives over from dummy half but is ruled to be held up. Cronulla shift the ball left on the last and Anthony Tupou holds it up before giving a beautiful short ball for Gallen to dive over.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 18-10
58 min: Great set for the Sharks after the try. Townsend finds touch and the Bulldogs will have to work the ball out from their 10m line.
62 min: PENALTY GOAL
Penalty- Cronulla receive a penalty on the last tackle after the Bulldogs slow the play-the-ball down. Townsend kicks the Penalty Goal from 37m out.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-10
64 min: Terrific take from Nathan Stapleton as he diffuses a Ben Barba bomb. Cronulla with the ball on their 40m line.
66 min: Penalty- The Bulldogs with a rare opportunity in attack for the second half. Pritchard carts the ball up and offloads to Tolman who loses it. Sharks with a scrum on their 10m line.
69 min: Cronulla unlucky as Ben Pomeroy ruled to have knocked-on in making a tackle. The Bulldogs have a scrum on the Sharks 20m line.
71 min: Good defence from the Sharks. The Bulldogs shift it right and the set finishes with Josh Morris passing the ball into touch.
73 min: Cronulla have a scrum on the Bulldogs 40m line after Sam Kasiano's pass dribbled into touch.
73 min: TRY
Wade Graham scores and the Sharks will win! Tupou offloads to put Gallen into space and he then offloads for Wade Graham who dives over.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26-10
79 min: Pritchard loses the ball and the Sharks have the ball on their 20m line. A very good performance from Cronulla today and a deserved 2-points.
Full-time here and Cronulla have defeated the Bulldogs 26-10. It was a very strong performance from the Sharks, while Canterbury sorely missed the attacking spark of Trent Hodkinson and Michael Ennis.

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