Cronulla have withstood a late Raiders fightback to post a dominant 30 points to 20 win in front of 12,130 fans at Cronulla Stadium this afternoon.
It was a bright day, conducive to playing some attacking football and both teams were ready to give the ball some air. Johnathan Wright opening the point scoring from a inside ball from Todd Carney.
Carney who was building his argument to play origin this season, was in everything for the Sharks in this game. He started the exchange of passes that sent Ben Ross over for a rare four-pointer and a twelve point lead early.
The Raiders aren't adverse to playing from behind in a game and they struck back in the 21st minute through young half, Anthony Milford who latched onto a Shaun Fensom offload for the first of his brace.
It was through Todd Carney again that Cronulla crept ahead again, his inside ball for Pomeroy set up for Isaac De Gois to just about make it to the try-line and a 18-6 scoreline at the break.
Following the injury to Josh McCrone, Anthony Milford would spend the final forty in the halves having a hand in the Raiders second. His stabbing kick evaded everyone bar Ferguson who planted it down.
The lead would extend to fourteen when Canberra's second phase play went awry and Jason Bukuya out-paced a game Terry Campese for the score.
As the clock ticked into the final twenty minutes though, it moved into Raiders time where they start to make a comeback. First Jack Wighton showed that the Raiders backline wouldn't be out of place in a high-jump event as he went uncontested for his try.
Next it was the Raiders almost going the length of the field through their second phase play. McIllwrick finding his way towards the line, found Milford who Following the injury to Josh McCrone, Anthony Milford danced his away across for his second. Canberra had got their mojo going and were within four.
It would be unfortunate that Campese who much like Carney, was involved in everything for his side, threw the pass that led to the Raiders demise.
From his error, Andrew Fifita stormed onto a simple pass and wasn't stopping until he hit the try-line and earning Cronulla two points. Carney who took over kicking duties following Michael Gordon's knee injury finished off the try to put the final scoreline at 30 points to 20.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 30 Canberra Raiders 20
Venue: Endeavour Field
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Todd Carney
2 points - Andrew Fifita
1 point - Terry Campese
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (30)
Tries: Jonathan Wright, Ben Ross, Isaac De Gois, Jayson Bukuya, Andrew Fifita
Conversions: Todd Carney (2/2), Michael Gordon (3/3)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (20)
Tries: Anthony Milford (2), Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton
Conversions: Blake Ferguson (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Sam Tagataese 16. Jayson Bukuya 17. Anthony Tupou 18. Mark Taufua
Raiders: 1. Reece Robinson 2. Sandor Earl 3. Jack Wighton 4. Blake Ferguson 5. Edrick Lee 6. Terry Campese (c) 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Brett White 11. Joel Edwards 12. Josh Papalii 13. Shaun Fensom
Interchange: 14. Anthony Milford 15. Joe Picker 16. Dane Tilse 17. Paul Vaughan 18. Shaun Berrigan
CRO: There is one change and it is a name familiar with Sharks and NRL fans - Peachey, Tyrone will make his debut in place of the injured Luke Lewis.
CAN: No changes. They are 1-17.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! The video referee has deemed the contact not sufficient enough to deny the try. Jonathan Wright goes in off a nice outside pass by Carney. Michael Gordon steps up and converts.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 6-0
Scored by Ben Ross. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! Ben Ross steams onto a ball from an exchange of passes to give Cronulla a ten point buffer early. Michael Gordon right besides the posts makes it 2/2.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12-0
Scored by Anthony Milford. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Well that came from the blue, a charging run by Fensom produces a classy flick to Milford who beats Gordon easily to go in under the sticks. Ferguson with a conversion from in front, slams it through.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12-6
Scored by Isaac De Gois. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
That was vintage Carney.. he drifted across field and gave it to Pomeroy who finds clear space, drawing Travis Robinson and sending Isaac De Gois away for the TRY and a hit into the posts. Gordon, slams it through again.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18-6
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! Anthony Milford stabs through a kick that takes a wicked bounce evading everyone bar Ferguson who plants it down. Blake will step up to convert his own try and misses it.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18-10
Scored by Jayson Bukuya. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
That came out of nothing! Raiders get some second phase play going but the McIllwrick pass only goes to Bukuya out out-paces Terry Campese to the try line. Due to the Gordon injury, Carney takes over kicking duties and puts it through the sticks.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24-10
Scored by Jack Wighton. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Terry Campese has been in everything today and it has shown in each Raiders try. Campese puts it cross-field to Wighton who beats everyone to the ball and scores. Ferguson slides it inside the posts and it is eight the difference.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24-16
Scored by Anthony Milford. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
Canberra's best set of the game gets them right back into this. They were making metres at will with McIllwrick going close, finding Milford who dances over the try-line. Ferguson misses a relatively easy kick.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24-20
Scored by Andrew Fifita. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
FIFITA! get out of his way.. he just got a run up and stormed onto the ball, no one was going to stop him. Carney from besides the posts, slams it through.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 30-20