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The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have pulled off a stunning come from behind victory to defeat the Penrith Panthers 15-14 in front of a 13,920 strong crowd at Centrebet Stadium.
It was the third win in a row for the Sharks, while the Panthers crashed to their fifth straight home loss.
Paul Gallen was a standout again for the Sharks again as he made 126 metres off just 14 hit ups in the first half as the Sharks went into the break with a 12-4 lead. Todd Carney and Jeff Robson were both superb in putting the Panthers under the pump as they helped continuously and methodically controlled the game.
Jayson Bukuya scored the first try of the match courtesy of a great short ball from fellow forward, Jeremy Smith.
The Panthers appeared shell shocked as the Sharks begun capitalizing on every opportunity. They led the count throughout the whole match and extended their lead to 12 as Gallen spread the ball and Graham used his skill to crash over.
But the Panthers still had some fight in them and began mounting their comeback in the final 10 minutes of the half.
The Panthers worked their way up the field in the final minutes of the half before Blake Austin went over in the 37th minute after a wonderful pass from Travis Burns.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first; with the Panthers dominating for 30 minutes, and the Sharks fighting back in the final ten.
Michael Jennings got the Panthers back into the game in 52nd try with his 9th try in just 8 games against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
The final try of the match came only 10 minutes later, when Kevin Kingston spread the ballwide and found Lachlan Coote who scored under the sticks.
At 14-12, Todd Carney stepped up after some great attacking play by the Sharks as he slotted a penalty goal.
The game was once again in the balance before a huge field goal from Tod Carney saw the Sharks win the game in the dying moments.
The Sharks victory put a damper on Penrith captain Luke Lewis' 200th game celebration.
The Sharks will now look to extend their three game winning streak at Toyota Park next Saturday night, while the Panthers will head to Brookvale Oval to try and bring down the defending premiers.
Penrith Panthers 14 were defeated by Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 15
National Rugby League - Round 5 - Saturday March 31, 2012 5:30pm
Venue: Centrebet Stadium, Penrith
Referee: Ashley Klein and Henry Perenara
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Ricky MacFarlane and Gavin West
Halftime: Penrith Panthers 4 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Paul Gallen
2 Points - Luke Lewis
1 Point - Todd Carney (1 Conversion, 2 Penalty Goals, 1 Field Goal)
PENRITH PANTHERS (14)
Tries: Michael Jennings, Lachlan Coote, Blake Austin
Conversions: Luke Walsh (1/3)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (15)
Tries: Wade Graham, Jason Bukuya
Field Goals: Todd Carney (1/1)
Conversions: Todd Carney (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Todd Carney (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We are about to kick off here at Centrebet Stadium! Panthers will remain 1-17, with Luke Lewis playing his 200th, while Sharks' winger Stewart Mills is out and Matthew Wright comes into the side! Dry conditions and should be a great affair! #NRLPenCro is the twitter hastag!
Head to head: Played 79, Panthers 36, Sharks 40, 3 draws! Heritage round for both clubs who entered in the same year!
1 min: Panthers kick off to the Sharks, Gibbs charges into the Panthers line and makes 15 metres! GAME ON!
1 min: Carney goes out wide as the Sharks make great metres, a kick goes up, Gallen comes down with it just metres from the line before Gardner is stopped and the Panthers play the ball! good set!
1 min: BIG DEFENCE! Dane Weston is floored by Paul Gallen!
2 min: Panthers clear the ball and the Sharks outside backs have the ball!
3 min: Carney kicks the ball high but the Panthers defuse the kick! Ten metres out, second tackle!
3 min: Penrith clear from their own half again as Wright brings the ball back after catching it on the full
4 min: Penalty Sharks! Travis Burns penalized for unlawful contact with the legs!
5 min: Gibbs plays the ball as the Sharks are 11 metres out
6 min: TRY
Smith gives a great ball to Bukuya as the Sharkies convert their efforts with points! Simple conversion for Todd Carney!
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
7 min: The game is back on as the Panthers give the ball to Gibbs once again! This time he makes it to the 20
8 min: Some enterprising play as the ball just does not want to die!
8 min: An attacking kick is placed up; and penalty Panthers, offside. Penalty count: 1-1
9 min: Lewis charges up in his 200th game! Great bloke, great player
9 min: Big defence by the Panthers as the Sharks now begin to work out from their own half! Gallen brings it up!
10 min: Robson gets a kick away as Coote gets the ball on the full and brings it back to the 40!
10 min: Some great attack here from the Panthers before the ball is lost by Jennings
11 min: Sharks move the ball wide and they go down the sideline with John Williams! Crounlla on the attack
12 min: Ball goes dead from a kick by Todd Carney! 20 tap to Panthers!
13 min: Walsh given room to move on the last before he puts the kick in! A great chase as the Panthers are trying to contain the Sharks
13 min: Penalty Sharks: Clint Newtown pulls Todd Carney down by the collar
15 min: Last tackle ten from the line, Sharks go down the short. Panthers 20 metre tap after it breaks down!
16 min: Walsh launches a big kick, as Gardner takes the ball by John Williams gets in the way and he virtually tackles his own man! Sharks ball
17 min: Fifita puts the ball down after a simple pass. Panthers 40m out
17 min: Rushing Sharks markers put the panthers under pressure
18 min: Another mistake from Newtown in good attacking position. Sharks scrum, 15 metres from their line
19 min: Robson puts a high ball up on the fourty metre line, and the Panthers' Simmons comes down with it and Graham come up with an important tackle
19 min: The Panthers are splitting the Sharks line here
20 min: They go 96 meters up field and Todd Carney pulls out Uaisele
21 min: Third tackle and the Sharks are working it out from their half, again.
21 min: Simmons probing for the Panthers. Second tackle, 20 metres from their line. Sharks line speed is good.
22 min: Cronulla have the ball back! They are over halfway
23 min: Carney puts a kick along the ground into touch. 10 metres out from their line and Panthers get a scrum!
23 min: Mistake by Penrith! 10 metres out
24 min: Now a penalty to the Sharks, Burns commits the foul. Penalty count: 3-1 Cronulla
25 min: PENALTY GOAL
And the penalty goal is converted by Todd Carney! Restart time.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-0
25 min: Panthers get us under way once more!
26 min: Carney place a good kick from 46 metres out to the Panthers in goal, a kick chase and they have the ball 10 metres out from their own line do the Panthers
27 min: Last tackle and the Panthers kick the ball from inside their own 40, but the backs of the Sharks collect it and Wright charges back to the 20 metre line.
27 min: Very controlled game here by Cronulla!
28 min: The Sharks go through the motions, get to the last tackle and kick the ball, as Coote makes a meal of it. Scrum 10 metres out. Big set for Panthers. can they hold on?
29 min: Carney nearly splits them off the scrum!
30 min: TRY
The Sharkies spread the ball, Gallen to Graham and he uses a dummy and a palm to crash over for the try! The sideline conversion is unsuccessful by Todd Carney!
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-0
32 min: Fifita brings the ball back to Panthers line! 65% of the ball to the Sharks, 35% to the Panthers!
32 min: Morris from dummy half by Penrith force the mistake. Play the ball.
33 min: Lewis splits the Sharks line, he gives it off to a ball runner who offloads to Coote as he losses his footing. The Panthers then give the ball back to the Sharks
34 min: Todd Carney goes very close to kicking a 40/20 but Simmons saves it.
35 min: After a line break from Uaisele but the Sharks concede a penalty! Penalty count: 3-2 Cronulla
36 min: Panthers starting to attack here.
38 min: TRY
Burns gives a great short ball to Blake Austin as the Panthers go over the line! TRY! Walsh misses the kick!
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-4
38 min: Sharks give the ball back to Penrith and they bring it back to the 20 metre line.
39 min: Penalty Sharks: High tackle on Gardner via Tighe. Penalty count: 4-2 Cronulla
40 min: The ball goes forward from the Sharks and it is halftime.
40 min: We are back under way and the Panthers have first use
42 min: The Panthers have come out with a simple game plan as the Sharks go through their first set simply, the Panthers return the favour
42 min: Todd Carney defuses the kick and a 20 metre restart
43 min: Morris comes from half and kicks to Simmons. Sharkies on the defence.
44 min: Gardner defuses a high ball and the Sharks are working out of their own half! Tennis like football right now!
45 min: Panthers making some great inroads here! Goulds men have the upper hand.
46 min: 20 metre restart for the Sharks
47 min: Robsen just kicks the ball down Uaisele's throat
48 min: Penalty Panthers: Ruck infringement. Penalty count: 4-3 Cronulla
48 min: Jennings loses the ball so close to the Sharks line!
49 min: Sharks slowing down
49 min: Carney kicks the ball dead in goal! Taking their time down the field
50 min: Panthers threaten down the sidelines
51 min: Nathan Gardner responds to Coote and puts the ball down. 10 metre scrum for Panthers
52 min: Paul Gallen is penalized for diving on the ball when there is a dummy half present!
53 min: Video ref: The boys in pink are going up stairs to check the tape. Has Jennings planted the ball down before going out?
52 min: TRY
9 tries in 8 matches against the Sharks for Jennings!
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-8
56 min: LEWIS MAY HAVE SCORED BUT NO! A KNOCK ON BY PENRITH! TURN OVER!
57 min: Gallen is very hard at work!
57 min: The official crowd number is 13,920!
61 min: TRY
KINGSTON SPLITS THEM OPEN, AS HE OFFLOADS TO COOTE AND THEY GO OVER UNDER THE STICKS!
Penrith Panthers 14-12
62 min: Knock on off the kick off! The Sharks have an attempt to get the points back!
62 min: A kick by the Sharks with no kick chase and the Panthers have the ball, 1 metre out
63 min: Jennings is down and receiving treatment
64 min: A great kick by Coote and an even better kick chase! The Sharks are under the pump
64 min: A big kick and a terrible kick chase as the Panthers brings it to the 40 metre line
65 min: Panthers keep poking holes in the Sharks defence
65 min: Change over as the Sharks hold on!
66 min: Issac De Gois on the sidelines injured
67 min: Carney chips and chases but Coote defuses it
67 min: 20 metre restart here for the sharks
68 min: Change over here! Panthers on the attack
69 min: Sharks have the ball and use their outside men well! could that be a turning point
70 min: PENALTY! no doubt the Sharks will take the two! this game is getting tighter!
71 min: PENALTY GOAL
Todd Carney levels the game!
72 min: FIELD GOAL
Carney kicks the field goal!
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 15-14
74 min: Panthers under the pump! down by a point and the Sharks desperate to hold on
74 min: As the Panthers were warming to something, the ball is put down! Sharks to come on the attack!
75 min: The Sharks are on the attack, 30 metres from the try line
76 min: The Panthers have the ball, 5 metres from their line! What can they do!
77 min: An ankle tap saves a Panthers try
77 min: VIDEO REF: SIMMONS MAY HAVE STOLEN A TRY! checking onside and control of the ball
77 min: OFFSIDE: Penalty Sharks! Massive relief in the shire
78 min: Sharks now playing safety first football, working it out from their own half
78 min: Carney drives it down field! Panthers have the ball, its now or never!
79 min: Coote ends the game for the Panthers! Sharks should win!
80 min: Sharks win! They hold on at Centrebet Stadium! Have your say on the forums! What a game! 15-14