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Fulltime score: Round 19 Cronulla Sharks 30 - Newcastle Knights 26
The Cronulla Sharks have defeated the Newcastle Knights 30-26 in extra time at Toyota Park this evening.
In a contest that ebbed and flowed throughout the second half, it was the Sharks who finished the stronger and ultimately came away with the vital two points in extra time to keep their premiership campaign from completely going off the rails after their loss to the Rabbitohs last weekend.
For the Knights, Andrew Johns had a mighty game but it wasn?t enough as the Knights fell just short of notching back to back wins for the first time this year and it virtually guarantees they will finish with the wooden spoon.
In a weekend of close games and upsets, this game certainly provided continuity but the end result fell short of all those who support the underdog and those who support a team still in the race for a berth in the top eight.
Scorers: CRONULLA SHARKS 30 Tries: Merritt x 2, Peachey, Sullivan, Mellars Goals: Merritt 3/5 NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 26 Tries: Simpson x 2, Tighe, Salkeld Goals: Johns 5/7
Toyota Park Crowd: 14,027 Referee: Sean Hampstead Half time: Knights 14-10
Live commentary: 1st min: Kickoff! We are underway at Toyota Park.
4th min: TRY - Knights. Steve Simpson opens the Knights account. Conversion successful. Knights 6-0.
15th min: No addition to the score with the Sharks making too many errors early in the game.
17th min: TRY - Knights. Steve Simpson gets a rare double as the Knights continue to relish the role of spoiler for teams in the hunt for the top eight. Conversion successful. Knights 12-0.
21st min: TRY - Sharks. Nathan Merritt gets the Sharks first try as they attempt to get back in the match. Conversion unsuccessful. Knights 12-4.
25th min: PENALTY GOAL - Knights. Johns edges the Knights further in front. Knights 14-4.
28th min: TRY - Sharks. David Peachey gets the Sharks to within a converted try. Conversion successful. Knights 14-10.
35th min: Still no change in the score five minutes from half time. Possession about even but the Sharks still missing too many tackles.
HALF TIME: An even contest with the Knights holding afour point lead at half time after leading 12-0 early. The Sharks are very much in the game and within a converted try of the lead but with Johns running the show for the Knights, anything is possible and a loss would for the Sharks would be a serious blow to their finals aspirations.
41st min: We are underway in the second half.
42nd min: TRY - Knights. Didn't take long for the Knights to extend their lead and give the Sharks a big job in the second half. Brad Tighe was the scorer. Conversion successful. Knights 20-10.
46th min: TRY - Sharks. Nathan Merritt hits straight back for the Sharks. Too bad he is off to Souths next year. Conversion successful. Knights 20-16.
52nd min: TRY - Sharks. The Sharks are in front for the first time in the match. Should be an exciting finish. Michael Sullivan was the scorer. Conversion successful. Sharks 22-20.
62nd min: TRY - Knights. A see-sawing battle in progress here with the Knigts edging their nose in front again. Trent Salkeld was the scorer this time. Conversion unsuccessful. Knights 24-22.
67th min: TRY - Sharks. Vince Mellars scores to put the Sharks back in the lead. Exciting second half but can the Sharks hold on or will the Knights come back and steal the points? Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 26-24.
76th min: PENALTY GOAL - Knights. Johns gets us all square with under four minutes remaining. A cliff hanger with extra time likely unless someone can slot a field goal. 26 all.
80 min: Scores still locked up so off we go to extra time.
85th min: First half of extra time up and still a deadlock.
89th min: TRY - Sharks. Vince Mellars breaks the deadlock to give the Sharks a much needed win over a determined Knights side. Sharks 30-26.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Johns (Newcastle) 2 - N Merritt (Sharks) 1 - V Mellars (Sharks) -----------------------------------------