THE Sharks have won their first match since round 17 after thrashing the New Zealand Warriors 45-4 in front of 13,812 at Mt Smart Stadium.
Boosted by the return of captain Paul Gallen and five-eighth Todd Carney, it was all the Sharks in the opening 30 as they dominated the metre and posession battles and defended strongly.
Carney hit his stride quickly, scoring against the run of play after running 90 metres to score in only the fifth minute. Carney converted his own try.
With the forwards laying the platform, the Sharks were on the attack again eight minutes later and the NSW five-eighth was over again, taking advantage of some soft Warriors' defence close to the line. Carney was on the money with boot again.
The Warriors were given a spate of possession in the Sharks' danger zone as the half progressed, but the Sharks' goal line defence was impenetrable.
A penalty goal to Carney in the 23rd minute extended the Sharks' lead to 14-points before Carney was sensational again as he put Colin Best into space down the left touchline in the 28th minute before Best offloaded to Jeff Robson who scored. Carney added the extras again.
The Warriors finally broke through the Sharks' defence in the 32nd minute with Bill Tupou scoring in the corner. With James Maloney off the field, Ben Henry was forced to take the shot at goal, the young centre missed the first conversion attempt of his career.
A Gallen intercept within the final minute of the half saw the Sharks on the attack again and they did not waste the opportunity with Carney kicking a field-goal on the half-time siren.
The home side got off to a disastrous start in the second-half with the kick off going out on the full. The Sharks took advantage with Andrew Fifita forcing his way over the line.
The Sharks stormed home from there, with John Williams scoring tries in the 59th and 66th minute before Fifita claimed his double in the 76th minute. Carney was flawless with boot, converting every try.
Best looked like he may have scored a four-pointer in the final minute of the game, but replays revealed his foot slipped into touch moments before his put down.
It was a convincing win for the Sharks, with Gallen and Carney putting in stellar performances. The NSW captain made 195 metres in just over 60 minutes, while Carney scored 25-points and set up and provided excellent direction in attack for the full 80.
This afternoons' victory sees the Sharks climb to fifth position on the competition ladder, they head to Newcastle next weekend to take on a Knights' side desperate to keep their final hopes alive.
As for the Warriors, the humiliation of this afternoon's loss is not all they have to contend with, five-eighth James Maloney was forced of the field in the 16th minute with a suspected midial ligament damage. The Warriors will take on the Cowboys in Townsville next weekend.
Photo credit: Chris (@Vossy7)
New Zealand Warriors 4 were defeated by Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 45
National Rugby League - Round 22 - Sunday August 5, 2012 12:00pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Shane Rehm
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 4 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 21
New Zealand Warriors (4)
Tries: Bill Tupou
Conversions: Ben Henry (0/1)
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (45)
Tries: Todd Carney (2), John Williams (2), Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita (2)
Field Goals: Todd Carney (1/1)
Conversions: Todd Carney (7/7)
Penalty Goals: Todd Carney (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternoon NRL fans and welcome to Mt Smart Stadium where the New Zealand Warriors take on the Cronulla Sharks.
Both our coaches have announced no late changes to their sides which means NSW and Sharks captain Paul Gallen will be making his return this afternoon.
Both sides are coming off losses with both teams blowing leads late in the game to come away with losses last weekend. The Sharks have not recorded a win since round 17.
1 min: Todd Carney kicks off to bring us under way in Auckland.
1 min: Shaun Johnson goes to the air from 40 out on the last and Louis Brown gets to the ball first only to be taken by the Sharks' defence a few metres out on the last tackle.
3 min: The Warriors receive the first penalty of the game 20 out from their own line.
4 min: Carney has raced 90 metres after sticking a boot out at a Johnson kick! Just making sure it came off Carney's boot.
5 min: TRY
TRY! Carney gets the green light to open up the scoring. Carney converts his own try
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
9 min: Jeff Robson's kick on halfway is charged down by the Warriors and they have regathered the ball, Warriors on the attack.
11 min: Johnson puts up a chip kick on the last and Manu Vatuvei is there to take the ball but loses it.
12 min: Sharks will get a tackle count restart 40 out from their own line.
14 min: TRY
TRY! Carney claims his double after taking advantage of some soft Warriors defence to score. Carney converts again.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-0
16 min: Time off with James Maloney down with an injury. Looks like an ankle problem, his ankle bent backwards in that last tackle.
19 min: The Sharks have their first penalty of the game, they will take the tap on halfway.
20 min: Carney loses the ball 30 out.
20 min: The Warriors receive a penalty and will go on the attack.
21 min: Ben Henry is pinned for a forward pass only 10 out from the Sharks' line.
22 min: Cronulla will get a scrum 20 out from the Warriors' line.
23 min: PENALTY GOAL
Cronulla receive a penalty 10 out and Carney opts to go for the two and has no problem adding the two points.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-0
25 min: Jeremy Smith loses the ball 45 metres out from his own line.
27 min: Johnson goes to the air and Brown is there to take the ball but knocks it on.
28 min: TRY
TRY! Carney spreads the ball out wide to Colin best 40 out from his own line, Best streaks away before offloading to Robson who scores. Carney adds the extras.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-0
29 min: The Warriors will go on the attack again after the Sharks are penalised.
30 min: Possible try to the Warriors here.
33 min: TRY
TRY! Bill Tupou opens up the scoring for the Warriors after Tupou scores in the corner. Henry misses the first conversion attempt of his NRL career.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-4
35 min: The Warriors are 10 short of halfway on tackle one after Robson is forced to get a kick away under pressure.
36 min: Johnson grubbers into the in goal and Robson cleans up the ball in his own in goal before running it into the field of play and getting a penalty.
37 min: Carney kicks a cross-field grubber ten out and Tupou fails to clean up the ball, Best is there but knocks it on over the line.
40 min: Gallen intercept 40 out and the Sharks will have one last shot at the try line.
40 min: FIELD GOAL
Carney kicks a field goal on half-time.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 21-4
41 min: The Warriors have kicked it out on the full from the kick off. The Sharks will go on the attack early.
42 min: Johnson attempts an intercept after the Sharks spread it out wide, but the Warriors' half knocks on ten out.
44 min: TRY
TRY! John Morris puts Andrew Fifita into a hole 12 out and takes a defender with him over the try line. Carney's conversion attempt is successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 27-4
48 min: The Sharks are on the attack with two tackles in hand after some nice breaks.
49 min: Nathan Stapleton is pinned for an incorrect play the ball 10 out on the last.
52 min: The Warriors receive a 20 out from the Sharks' line.
53 min: Johnson forces a line drop out.
53 min: Nathan Friend knocks on 30 out after Sam Rapira throws a bad pass.
55 min: Robson's kick is charged down by the Warriors, but the Sharks regain possession on their own 30.
58 min: Feleti Mateo loses the ball 40 out from his own line and the Sharks will go on the attack.
59 min: John Williams might have a try here! Just checking the onside.
60 min: TRY
TRY! Robson puts up a cross-field bomb and Tupou is there for the Warriors to diffuse the ball but Williams snatches the ball out of his hands and scores in the left corner. Carney's conversion attempt from the left touch line is successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 33-4
65 min: Smith is down for the Sharks after a late shot. Sharks' will receive a penalty 30 out.
65 min: The Sharks receive another penalty 10 out.
66 min: Williams may have his double!
67 min: TRY
TRY! Williams scores in the right corner again after the Sharks spread it out wide. Carney nails another conversion from the sideline.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 39-4
68 min: Sharks will go on the attack again after another mistake from the kick off.
70 min: Carney puts too much on a grubber and it bounces dead and the Warriors are let off.
70 min: The Warriors will get a scrum 10 out after a knock on from the Sharks.
71 min: Russell Packer knocks on over the try line.
75 min: Sharks receive a penalty on half way after the Warriors are pinned for a leg pull.
77 min: TRY
TRY! Carney puts Fifita into a gap and Fifita scores under the posts. Carney nails the conversion from right in front.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 45-4
80 min: The Sharks will receive a scrum 30 out after a mistake from the Warriors.
80 min: Possible try to Best for the Sharks.
80 min: NO TRY! Best's boot went out before he grounded the ball.
80 min: With eight seconds left the players opt not to pack the scrum. The Sharks have won a game for the first time since round 17 with a 45-4 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart stadium in front of 13,812.