Roosters upset Sharks in
high scoring affair

Round 19
Sydney Roosters 38 v Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 32
at Aussie Stadium
Referees: Jason Robinson

Match Summary:

The Sydney Roosters have broken through for their sixth win of the season, downing their more fancied rivals Cronulla Sharks by 38-32 at Aussie Stadium this afternoon.

Snapping a six-game losing streak, the Roosters were under enormous pressure to get a win up today, after plummeting to second-last on the ladder following their poor recent form. Likewise, the Sharks have also been under a form cloud lately after losing their past two games despite coming into top-four calculations just a fortnight ago.

The game started with a fast pace but was dogged by baffling refereeing decisions throughout, meaning no side could gain momentum for too long. The Roosters took an early lead through Chris Flannery in the 3rd minute, followed shortly by winger Sam Perrett?s first effort for the day, scoring in the 6th minute to push the home side out to a 10-0 lead.

As they began to get into the contest, the Sharks responded with some constructive play, scoring through second-rower Greg Bird in the 19th minute before hard-running centre Nigel Vagana crossed in the 28th minute. In between Roosters captain Craig Fitzgibbon slotted a penalty goal and with ten minutes remaining before halftime the game was locked at 12-all and the game was certainly a more entertaining spectacle than it was billed for.

Both sides continued to add tries to tally with Albert for the Sharks, (34th minute) and Soliola for the Roosters (40th minute) setting the game up for a whirlwind second half. At the break the Sharks lead 18-16 thanks to the more accurate kicking of Luke Covell, but the home side definitely weren?t out of the reckoning.

Shortly after the break a try to rangy replacement Brett Kearney and a further penalty to Luke Covell opened up a ten-point lead to Cronulla, their biggest of the match, and it appeared that normal transmission had resumed down at Bondi Junction.

But to their credit the Roosters dug deep and found an extra gear to hit back several times against the Sharks, scoring three tries in ten minutes through Setaimata Sa and a brace to Ryan Cross, pushing Easts to the lead at 34-26.

The Sharks then attempted their own comeback with five-eighth Adam Dykes crossing the stripe in the 66th minute to setup a thrilling finish with the scores poised at 34-32.

A frustrated Ricky Stuart appeared to finally have enough of Brett Finch in the 72nd minute, dragging him from the field rather unceremoniously for an early shower. The ploy worked however, with the Roosters going back on the attack and Perrett rounding out his double for the day in the 74th minute.

The Roosters managed to hold out the Sharks attack from there with a thrilling finish to the game giving some heart to the faithful fans of the Tri-colours. They travel to Telstra Stadium next week to take on the rampant Bulldogs to entertain the bleak chance they may still make the finals.

Cronulla have some self-assessment to undergo however, slumping to their third loss against a team they were expected to beat. This leaves their finals campaign in some doubt after it had been building quite nicely. They face tear-away leaders Melbourne Strom at their Olympic Park graveyard and it simply doesn?t come any harder than that.

Sydney Roosters: 38
Tries: Ryan Cross(2), Chris Flannery, Sam Perrett(2), Iosia Soliola, Setaimata Sa
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 5/9
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 32
Tries: Greg Bird, Adam Dykes, Nigel Vagana, Darren Albert, Brett Kearney
Goals: Luke Covell 6/6

By the Clock:
We're up and running here at Aussie Stadium! The Roosters hosting the Sharks!

3 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Flannery scores but by the sounds of things we'll be hearing more about this one during the week. The ball appeared to have been grounded on the dead-ball line but was still awarded a try. Craig Fitzgibbon converts.
Roosters 6-0

6 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Luck's a fortune for the Roosters as Sam Perrett fields a Braith Anasta bomb to score a try. Fitzgibbon fails to convert the try. Great start here for the red, white and blue.
Roosters 10-0

10 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Sydney Roosters
Fitzgibbon sprays the attempt at penalty goal wide but the Sharks are shellshocked at the moment.
Roosters 10-0

15 min: NEWS Cronulla have not completed a set of six thus far and look like they're on another planet. Braith Anasta is playing his best game in his new colours. Still 10-0 the Roosters lead.

19 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Greg Bird crosses for the Sharks off the back of some impressive work from centre Nigel Vagana. Luke Covell successful with the conversion.
Roosters 10-6

20 min: NEWS Hutch Maiava suffers a headclash on the return from the kickoff and loses the ball. The injury looks to be concussion. Maiava replaced as the Roosters go on the attack.

22 min: PENALTY GOAL Sydney Roosters
Fitzgibbon adds the two points from the penalty goal with another controversial decision going against the Sharks.
Roosters 12-6

28 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Vagana gets across the stripe and the men from the shire are back in town. Great game on our hands here! Covell successful with the attempt at goal.
12 all.

30 min: NEWS Leon Bott has sustained a calf muscle injury for the Sharks. The Cronulla side now down to 15 men momentarily with the earlier injury to Hutch Maiava.

34 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Adam Dykes throws a pass which looked to be forward to Darren Albert who scoots away to score for Cronulla. Covell converts and Cronulla have gained the ascendancy.
Sharks 18-12

40 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Iosia Soliola crosses for a crucial try on halftime. A great second half is now in prospect. Fitzgibbon fails to add the extras.
Sharks 18-16

Halftime: The Roosters started well but the Sharks have hit back in the second period of the first half to lead 18-16 at the break. The Roosters have had more opportunities but the Sharks could be in trouble with both Hutch Maiava and Leon Bott both in doubt to return. Stick around, this second half will be a cracker!

Second half underway at Aussie Stadium

44 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Covell adds the two points for the penalty goal. Sharks lead 20-16 early in the second half.
Sharks 20-16

48 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Brett Kearney crosses for Cronulla who have come out firing after halftime.
Sharks 26-16

53 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Ryan Cross scores a length-of-the-field try as the Roosters come charging back at the Sharks. Conversion successful from Fitzgibbon.
Sharks 26-22

57 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Setaimata Sa continues the frantic afternoon for scoreboard attendants and scorers alike with another Roosters try. The decision was referred to video referee Steve Clark who decided to award the try. Roosters in front with the successful conversion to Fitzgibbon.
Roosters 28-26

63 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Cross somehow plants the ball down for his second try after it looked as though the Sharks had managed to hold him up and secure the hand-over. Fitzgibbon converts and the Roosters could be looking at their first win since round 11.
Roosters 34-26

66 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Adam Dykes crosses for Cronulla and there's still plenty of points in this game. A neat blindside play with Vagana involved yet again. Covell converts, 34-32 and we've got a game here.
Roosters 34-32

70 min: NEWS Brett Finch gifts the Sharks an opportunity by throwing a pass over the sideline just 30 metres out from his own line.

72 min: NEWS Finch dragged by Ricky Stuart but they manage to hold out the Sharks for the moment.

74 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Perrett gets his second after swooping on a Braith Anasta bomb which went to ground. Fitzgibbon fails to convert keeping the Sharks in the game.
Roosters 38-32

Fulltime: The Roosters have kept their utterly slim finals hopes alive with a 38-32 victory over the Sharks. A thriller of a game! Match report to come soon.
----------------------------------------- players of the match:
3 - Craig Fitzgibbon
2 - Nigel Vagana
1 - David Shillington