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In a sloppy, fumbling and often frustrating match, the Sharks have withstood a second half assault from Warriors winning in the end by 22 to 14 at Toyota Park.
With plenty of ball and territory, Cronulla scored two converted tries in the first 18 minutes.
In an often ugly encounter, the Warriors got their first try 31 minutes on through a Monty Betham try. Both sides went into sheds at halftime frustrated having butchered several tries and making a mountain of errors.
The Warriors put plenty of pressure early in the second half coming up with a four pointer thanks to Wairangi Koopu. The Sharks looked frustrated in attack until the 65th minute when Michael Sullivan set up Nathan Meritt up for a try to put them up by six points. But the Warriors hit back straight away after the Sharks knocked on from the kick off.
The Warriors launched a blitzkrieg attack to apply more pressure in the last ten minutes but Cronulla held out with Nigel Vagana scoring the match winner right on full time.
SHARKS 22 Tries: Bickerstaff, Bailey, Merritt, Vagana Goals: Hilder 3/4 defeated WARRIORS 14 Tries: Betham, Koopu, L Anderson Goals: Martin 0/2, Faumuina 1/2
Toyota Park Referee: Gavin Badger Video Referee: Mick Stone Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy, Matt Cecchin
By the clock: Welcome to Toyota Park for this must win clash between the Warriors & the Sharks. David Peachey has pulled out of the Cronulla side and is replaced by Nathan Merritt with Reece Williams taking his spot on the bench.
0 min: Sharks kickoff
4 min: News - The Warriors are spreading the ball as much as possible in the early stages of the match.
7 min: News - The Warriors have made several errors inside their own 20 metres giving the Sharks valuable possesion and territory.
9 min: Try - Sharks. Matt Bickerstaff runs onto a flat pass shrugging off some weak Warriors defenders. Matt Hilder converts. 6-0 Sharks
15 min: News - Back to back sets of six for the Sharks, Richard Villasanti has saved two tries already for the Warriors.
18 min: Try - Sharks. Phil Bailey puts in a grubber, Nathan Meritt batters it back into play before Ryan McGoldrick put another kick to the ball before Phil Bailey touched the ball down. Matt Hilder converts. 12-0 Sharks
20 min: News - Possession: 70% Sharks, Warriors 30%
25 min: News - The Warriors put a grubber into the in goal area, Jason Kent grabs and beats four Warriors defenders to get back into the field of play. The Warriors are struggling to get any go forward.
27 min: News - Brent Webb knocks on in a good position to score. The Warriors hands are letting them down.
31 min: Try - Warriors. The Sharks strip the ball off Stacey Jones, Monty Betham regathers the ball and scores. Tony Martin cant convert. 12-4 Sharks
35 min: News - The Warriors do everything right until putting Clinton Toopi into space for what should?ve been a try but alas he drops it cold. A bloody shocker.
36 min: News - Jason Kent puts in a grubber, Matt Rieck gets it but it rebounds off Nigel Vagana and is ruled a knock on.
38 min: News - Nigel Vagana has a brain explosion and kicks it over the sideline 5 metres out. Errors a plenty by each side.
HALF TIME The Sharks are having a lot of success through the middle of ruck making plenty of metres and are killing the Warriors through making plenty of offloads & superior second phase play. Both teams have been guilty of making plenty of handling errors with several tries being butchered. It's an ugly game to watch as both teams head to the sheds, The Sharks have simply been their own worst enemy. Cronulla are leading at the break 12-4.
40 min: Warriors kickoff
48 min: Try - Warriors. The Warriors did well to amount some pressure on the Sharks and it payed off, a pass to Wairangi Koopu sees him spin out of tackle to score. Sione Faumuina converts. 12-10 Sharks
50 min: News - The Warriors are starting to get a mountain of ball and are starting to hit their straps in attack.
53 min: News - Nathan Merritt slips over in-goal, had he stayed on his feet he would?ve scored.
54 min: News - Matt Rieck holds Justin Murphy up in goal to deny him a try.
59 min: News - Four successive penalties in a row for the Warriors, Sione Faumuina's penalty goal attempt hits the bar.
65 min: Try - Sharks. Michael Sullivan's cross field kick sets up Nathan Merritt for a four pointer. Hilder cant get the extra two points. 16-10 Sharks
67 min: News - Reece Williams knock it on from the kickoff.
68 min: Try - Warriors. A short pass sets up Louis Anderson for a try. Martin misses the conversion attempt. 16-14 Sharks
69 min: News - Danny Nutley comes off the field with what appears to be a shoulder injury.
71 min: News - Warriors force David Simmons in-goal with a good kick and chase.
76 min: News - An exciting last 5 minutes ahead, The Warriors are starting to throw the ball around with confidence but are well contained by the Sharks defenders.
77 min: News - The Sharks force the Warriors to batter it out giving them another set of six.
78 min: Try - Sharks. Michael Sullivan sets Nigel Vagana up to score the match clincher. Hilder converts. 22-14 Sharks
FULL TIME It certainly wasn?t pretty to watch but the Sharks come home with the two points. Cronulla win 22-14 FULL TIME stats: Possession: 51% in favour to the Sharks Penalties: Warriors 7-6 Errors: 15-15 Completions: Sharks 29/44; Warriors 30/45 Tackles: Warriors 276-222 Mistackles Warriors 15-14
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - J Stevens (Sharks) 2 - D Nutley (Sharks) 1 - R Villasanti (Warriors) -----------------------------------------