Sharks secure crucial win

The Cronulla Sharks have held on in a thrilling finish at Mt. Smart Stadium to defeat the NZ Warriors, 18-14 in front of 15,290 fans.

The traveling Sharks troubled the Warriors across the park as free-floating style of the Warriors was disrupted this afternoon.

Jonathan Wright claimed the first point of the contest thanks to a beautiful inside pass from Wade Graham. The Sharks flying early, 4-0 with Todd Carney's conversion going wide.

Before Ben Pomeroy left the field in the second half due to concussion. He added his name to the scorers sheet with a sneaky play as he darted through the centre of a scrum as it broke. Cronulla out to a 10-0 lead after 25 minutes.

The man they call the Beast, Manu Vatuvei, in a losing side showed his talents posting a double. His first came 10 minutes before the half time break as he danced through the Sharks defence to reach out and score. Warriors struck back, but trailed 10-4 at half time.

We have had some contenders for try of the year already, but Nathan Stapleton's four-pointer has been added to the list. Andrew Fifita and Ben Pomeroy involved in the lead up as the Sharks went 60 metres off a Warriors error. The was concern for Pomeroy who slammed his head into the turf which saw him concussed and taken off the field. Carney extended the lead to 16-6, 10 minutes until the second half.

The Kiwis were filled with hope of a fight back inside the final 10 minutes of the game. Their hope was dashed as the Sharks held on to win 18-14 despite two late tries to Konrard Hurrell and Manu Vatuvei. The polish of the home side missing as their finals chances all but over now.

Match Details
New Zealand Warriors 14 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Crowd: 15290
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10-4 Players of the Match:
3 points - Paul Gallen
2 points - Andrew Fifita
1 point - Bryce Gibbs

Tries: Manu Vatuvei (2), Konrad Hurrell
Field Goals:
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (1/3)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Jonathan Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Nathan Stapleton
Field Goals:
Conversions: Todd Carney (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Todd Carney (1/1) Live Commentary

Warriors: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Dane Nielsen 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Rapira 9. Nathan Friend 5. Jacob Lillyman 11. Feleti Mateo 12. Simon Mannering (c) 13. Elijah Taylor
Interchange: 10. Ben Matulino 14. Suaia Matagi 1 16. Todd Lowrie 17. Dominique Peyroux

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Ben Pomeroy 4. Jonathan Wright 5. Nathan Stapleton 6. Todd Carney 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (c)
Interchange 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Chris Heighington 16. Sam Tagataese 17. Ben Ross
Welcome to LeagueUnlimited's LIVE coverage of Saturday Afternoon footy! It's the first 3pm fixture of 2013 as we come to you from Mt. Smart Stadium in New Zealand. This afternoon sees a battle for a finals spot with the Warriors hosting the Cronulla Sharks.

TEAM NEWS: Warriors