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A last minute try has given South Sydney Rabbitohs a sensational 26-24 victory over the Cronulla Sharks tonight.
Played in front of 14,879 diehard fans at Cronulla's Toyota Stadium, the match offered little in terms of season's standings with both teams well out of finals contention.
The Sharks however, needed a win to kick clear of the last-placed Sydney Roosters and avoid the wooden spoon. The Roosters take on the North Queensland Cowboys tomorrow, and a win at home will see the Roosters offload the spoon into the Sutherland Shire.
The contest tonight saw plenty of tries with the scoreboard switching several times throughout the evening.
Followng an opening encounter that saw Sharks score the opening try, Souths struck back to level the scores before the Sharks scored again. Craig Wing crossed in the the 39th minute for Souths and at half time it was 12-all.
The home side edged ahead soon after the break thanks to the boot of Luke Covell. But in the 50th minute, Souths took the lead following a runaway try to Nathan Merritt.
A try to Sharks enforcer Paul Gallen in the 58th minute put the locals back in front.
Forward Kade Snowden was in five minutes later and at 24-18, the Sharks looked to be in the driver's seat.
But a South Sydney try to winger Chris McQueen in the 67th put the visitors just two points adrift.
The match winner came in the final seconds when the Sharks defence was unable to resist a last set raid from the Rabbitohs, prop Scott Geddes running onto a well timed pass from John Sutton to crash over and snatch victory.
Playing his last NRL match, and bound for Japanese rugby union, South Sydney and NRL veteran Craig Wing was given the ball to attempt the conversion, the kick going wide but inconsequential to the final result.
Match Details South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 def Cronulla Sharks 24 Round 26 - Saturday September 5th, 2009 07:30pm Venue: Toyota Stadium, Cronulla Referee: Matt Cecchin & Gerard Sutton Sideline Officials: Daniel Eastwood & Peter Kirby Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 14,879 Halftime: Cronulla Sharks 12 South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
Cronulla Sharks 24 Tries: Luke Douglas, Mitch Brown, Paul Gallen, Kade Snowden Goals: Luke Covell (4/5) South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 Tries: John Sutton, Craig Wing, Nathan Merritt, Chris McQueen, Scott Geddes Goals: Chris Sandow (3/4), Craig Wing (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: John Sutton (Rabbitohs) 2 Points: Paul Gallen (Sharks) 1 Point: David Fa'alogo (Rabbitohs)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the Sharks v Rabbitohs Round 26 clash as it happens - forum discussion - click here!
SHARKS:4. David Simmons 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Ben Pomeroy 1. Mitch Brown 5. Luke Covell 13. Paul Gallen 6. Blake Green 8. Kade Snowden 9. Corey Hughes 10. Luke Douglas 11. Grant Millington 12. Anthony Tupou 15. Jack Afamasaga Interchange: 14. Ian Donnelly 16. Matthew Wright 17. Terence Seu Seu 19. Atelea Vea RABBITOHS: 1. Nathan Merritt 2. Jamie Simpson 3. Colin Best 4. Junior Vaivai 5. Chris McQueen 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Luke Stuart (c) 9. Issac Luke 10. Scott Geddes 11. Ben Lowe 12. Eddy Pettybourne 13. David Fa'alogo Interchange: 14. Craig Wing 15. Shannan McPherson 16. Dave Tyrrell 17. Jaiman Lowe
Sharks trying to determine their own destiny, a win tonight will ensure that they don't get the wooden spoon.
Souths as per the card. Sharks with a few positional changes, and halfback Porter is out. See team above.
Teams on the field. Souths kick off and the match is underway!
4 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Luke Douglas chases a grubber into the in-goal and scores, ball hitting the post on the way through. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 6-0
14 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs John Sutton just wide of the ruck busts the tackle from close range and gets over the line. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. 6 all
20 min: Sharks enjoying a little more possession.
32 min: Still 6-all with a dust up happening between the players. Referee reading the riot act. Souths on the attack, but unable to covert it into points.
SIN BIN - Sharks lose Paul Gallen for 10 minutes.
37 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Mitch Brown in a half bust close to the line, reaches out and scores 15m in from touch. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 12-6
39 min: Possible TRY to Souths. Video ref looking... Verdict...
39 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Craig Wing, in his final NRL game, scores out wide. Wing gets around and then through the defence from 10m out. Video ref gives green light after checking for possible obstruction. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. 12 all
Half time: 12 all
Second half underway...
43 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sharks Covell from right in front. Souths offside. Cronulla Sharks 14-12
45 min: 40/20 - Blake Green for the Sharks puts the home side on the attack.
48 min: End-to-end stuff with Souths coming close then Sharks ruck it out in reply for a good 60m, only to lose possession down the South Sydney end.
55 min: Possible TRY to Souths. Video ref checking the grounding... Verdict...
50 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Nathan Merritt scores next to the sticks after Souths make a bust down the middle of the park, Merritt backing up what was a 60m movement. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-14
53 min: NO TRY - Forward Paul Gallen and the Sharks denied out wide after centre Colin Best drags Gallen over the corner post. Souths get a 20m tap.
58 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Gallen gets the nod this time, but on the other side of the field, crashing over to lock up the scoreboard. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell unsuccessful. 18 all
63 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks Kade Snowden makes it look easy, taking a pass from dummy half Corey Hughes and pushing aside some would-be defenders to score 12m wide of the posts. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell successful. Cronulla Sharks 24-18
67 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Winger Chris McQueen runs onto a classy long pass from Sutton to score in the corner. Bit of a dust-up in the in-goal after McQueen takes exception to being tackled after scoring. Ref tells him to put a sock in it and McQueen agrees. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow unsuccessful. Cronulla Sharks 24-22
76 min: Still just two points in it. Sharks running it out in their own half.
79 min: Souths hammering the Sharks line with just seconds remaining....
79 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Scott Geddes scores! With only seven seconds remaining on the clock, and on the last tackle, Souths have snatched victory with a try 15m wide of the posts, winning the game in sensational circumstances. Geddes on the burst, runs onto a Sutton pass from close range, and the defence just opens up. The departing Craig Wing handed the ball for the shot at goal, but is well wide. South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-24
Full time: Rabbitohs 26-24 The season ends for both teams, but Sharks now sweating on tomorrow's Sydney Roosters vs North Queensland Cowboys clash. A Roosters win will see them avoid the wooden spoon, and send it Cronulla's way.