Sharks hold firm to power over Raiders
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
Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Ben Pomeroy 4. Jonathan Wright 5. Beau Ryan 6. Todd Carney 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. John Morris 10. Ben Ross 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Chris Heighington
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
Welcome to sunny Cronulla for this afternoon's contest between two of the NRL's more mercurial sides in Cronulla against Canberra. Both teams are coming off victories and looking to build some momentum.
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.
Earlier today in the Holden Cup: Canberra won a thriller over Cronulla 26-24 thanks to a Worboys conversion.
Here come the Raiders in their white away strip and they head to the northern end of Cronulla Stadium to receive. They are followed by the home side, wearing a predominately pink with lines of their traditional black, white and blue readying themselves to kick-off.
Todd Carney kicks off and here we go!
5 min: First PENALTY of the afternoon goes to Cronulla for holding down too long.
7 min: Jack Wighton gets some space and tries to take on his opposite but only succeeds in being tossed over the sideline. Sharks scrum, 30 metres out.
7 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Going upstairs for what else but obstruction. Possible try to Wright though.
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
11 min: SIX MORE.. for Canberra, it was touched by a Shark.
12 min: BANG! Sam Tagatease nails Josh McCrone to make him think twice about running sideways. Raiders though earn a PENALTY thanks to a strip.
13 min: Last tackle kick is ineffective from Campese but he earns a reprieve from a PENALTY for a blocker.
15 min: That was a shambles of a final kick from the Raiders and it almost went the length with Beau Ryan. He was tackled but gets a PENALTY for holding down.
VIDEO REFEREE AGAIN: Ben Ross might have a TRY and referee is checking obstruction.
17 min: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
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
20 min: A lovely kick from Carney lands on the button - forcing Lee to take it in-field and be driven back in-goal.
21 min: Sharks are looking for more points here but it is halted by a Carney forward pass.
25 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
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
26 min: PENALTY to Cronulla for Ferguson not allowing Michael Gordon a fair go at the ball.
27 min: Sharks try to go to Wright again but the pass is wayward and goes right into Raiders hands.
27 min: Cheeky early kick from Campese almost caught the Sharks out and allowed Milford to swoop but Jeff Robson batted it dead just in time.
29 min: PENALTY Sharks Raiders offside.
31 min: The cross-field kick almost went awry for Sharks as it was clear air for Canberra, luckily it was Campese and he was roped in.
35 min: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
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
35 min: PENALTY Sharks right from the restart from a high tackle that bounced up.
37 min: FORWARD! Some nice catch and pass from the Sharks is halted due to a forward pass to Beau Ryan.
39 min: PENALTY Sharks. They will get a chance to add to their twelve point lead.
40 min: Great tackle from Josh Papalii stops the Sharks on fifth. Papalii and Fifita exchange some pleasantries but play goes on. PENALTY Raiders.
40 min: From the tap - Campese launches it high and Gordon drops it alas no one is there to recover. HALFTIME.
40 min: We're back for the second half here at Cronulla Stadium - Canberra to kick off!
44 min: A massive leap from Ferguson got the ball for the Raiders and earnt them SIX MORE right at the Sharks line.
VIDEO REFEREE: Blake Ferguson is claiming a try but we're checking the contest.
46 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
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
46 min: INJURY: Michael Gordon (thigh strain) will not be back for Cronulla and neither will Josh McCrone with a rib injury. Shaun Fensom is a chance to return with an eye injury.
48 min: A rush of blood there from young Milford as he goes down the short side and kicks the ball out on the full.
51 min: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
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
Magical work from Tyrone Peachey but we're going upstairs to the VIDEO REFEREE.
52 min: NO TRY! Peachey went through a massive hole, came to Robinson chipped him but unfortunately he held back a Canberra player so it was adjudged no try.
53 min: PENALTY Raiders - holding down too long were the Sharks players.
54 min: Here comes the roar from the crowd as Wade Graham brings enough pressure to force Blake Ferguson, a former Sharks player mistake.
57 min: Some Harlem Globetrotter style play there from the Sharks but De Gois is unable to handle the pass.
60 min: Unlucky there, Terry Campese planted a perfect kick unfortunately the post got in the way and it went to a Sharks player.
63 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
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
VIDEO REFEREE: Anthony Milford might have his second with some dance moves, checking if McIllwrick has impeded anyone.
66 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
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
68 min: Sharks find some space down the sideline with Feki who puts one through for Robson who can't handle the ball.
69 min: Campese with a FORWARD pass.
71 min: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
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
72 min: Raiders try the short kick-off but it goes to a Sharks player.
77 min: Good hit from Jason Bukuya who aims it for Joe Picker who is taken over the sideline.
80 min: The icing is on the cake.. or not, Feki is called back for a FORWARD pass.
80 min: FULLTIME. Cronulla withstand a late Raiders fightback to win 30-20.