The Cronulla Sharks fought hard for a 34-28 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Both teams looked to throw it about early on and the Cowboys looked to be going along very comfortably. It changed pretty quickly when McWilliams broke his arm, Sweeney broke his leg and the Cowboys trailed 22-8 at halftime.
Even with only 15 men the Cowboys didn?t give up in the second half. They managed to stay in touch with the Sharks all the way through as both teams traded points. The closest they got was 32-28 with 10 minutes to go but when Anderson of the Sharks kicked a penalty goal on fulltime it was all over.
The Cowboys while worried about two possibly season ending injuries would have to be very happy with the spirit they showed in the second half. The Sharks on the other hand cling on to just a flicker of hope of making the finals.
Leagueunlimited?s Player of the year Awards: 3 ? Bowen (Cowboys) 2 ? Bailey ? (Sharks) 1 ? Williams (Cowboys)
Saturday 28 June 2003 5:30 PM Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins
Scorers: COWBOYS 28 Tries: 2 Williams, Morrison, Bowen Goals: Hannay 6/6 SHARKS 34 Tries: 2 Bailey, Bird, Nutley, Rieck, Hilder Goals: Anderson 5/7
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
7th min: NEWS - Its been an explosive start to the match. Hannay just about scored for the Cowboys early and then Cronulla returned serve with several chances on the Cowboys line.
11th min: TRY - Cowboys. The Cowboys went down field with a huge break from Matty Bowen. Several plays later Williams went to the line and offloaded to Morrison who scored. Hannay converts - Cowboys 6-0.
15th min: TRY - Sharks. Greg Bird went from dummy half and scored a very easy try. The video referee was asked to look at possible obstruction from Phil Bailey but saw no problems. Anderson converts - 6 all.
19th min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Morrison and Myles made a big break from the Cowboys and then the Sharks gave away a penalty right out in front. Hannay slots the two points - Cowboys 8-6.
23rd min: TRY - Sharks. The Sharks had a big overlap out wide but the ball came to Nutley who bounced off a defender and slid over the line. Anderson converts - Sharks 12-8.
25th min: NEWS - The Cowboys are falling apart in the dummy half area as Leigh McWilliams is off the field.
29th min: NEWS - Neil Sweeney has been taken from the field with a knee injury. McWilliams isn't on the sidlines. Lowe was taken off after a high tackle from Beattie and for a while the Cowboys were playing with 12 men.
32nd min: TRY - Sharks. The Sharks spread it out wide and Anderson gave a ball to Bailey to see him score in the corner. Anderson fails to convert - Sharks 16-8.
34th min: NEWS - The latest news is that McWilliams has a broken arm and Sweeney has a broken leg. Not good news at all for the Cowboys.
39th min: TRY - Sharks. Anderson made a great break and sent it on to Bailey who scored in the corner to extend the Sharks lead on halftime. Anderson converts - Sharks 22-8.
Halftime: The Cowboys are running short of players and look to be fighting an uphill battle. Halftime score - Sharks 22-8.
41st min: The second half is under way!
42nd min: PENALTY GOAL - The Sharks gave away a penalty goal and Hanny slotted the two points - Sharks 22-10.
50th min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Bowen stepped through a gap and went over next to the posts. The video referee was called upon to rule if he was held up but saw no problems. Hannay converts - Sharks 22-16.
54th min: TRY - Sharks. The ball came bouncing off the head of Danny Nutley and rolled into the Sharks in goal where Matthew Rieck dived on the ball to score. Anderson converts - Sharks 28-16.
60th min: NEWS - The game is getting a bit scrappy now as time is running out for the Cowboys to get back into this game.
64th min: TRY - Sharks. Peachey gave a great ball to Hilder who just had to roll over the line to score. Anderson fails to convert - Sharks 32-16.
67th min: TRY - Cowboys. Williams scored a try out wide and Hannay was quick to convert - Sharks 32-22.
70th min: TRY - Cowboys. Williams scores one of the most amazing tries of the year. Rauhihi kicked into the in goal and Williams just got to it and planted it down just before the dead ball line as he was rolling head over heals. Hannay converts from the sideline - Sharks 32-28.
75th min: NEWS - The North Queensland crowd is going wild as the Cowboys start to throw it around desperatly looking for a try.
80th min: PENALTY GOAL - Sharks. Paul Rauhihi gave away a penalty and the Anderson slotted the two points to rap up the game - Sharks 34-28.
Fulltime: The Cowboys have come back well besides only having 15 men to work with in the second half. The Sharks have worked hard for a deserved win. Fulltime score - Sharks 32-28.