Sharks smash Bulldogs in opening

Fulltime score: Round 4 SHARKS 26 v BULLDOGS 12

Match summary: The Cronulla Sharks have put together a sensational opening spell to blow the Canterbury Bulldogs off the pitch by 26-12 at Toyota Park this afternoon.

With the wind at the backs, the Sharks scored 18 points in the first 17 minutes as half back Brett Kimmorley put in a near perect kicking game for his outside men; in particular winger Luke Covell who made plenty of metres down the left side.

The Bulldogs managed to hold their own for the next 20 minutes and at half time, the Sharks held a handy 18-0 lead.

The second half started off in the same manner as the first half; the Sharks cutting loose with some brilliant support play up the middle of the park to see full back David Peachey [pictured] score under the posts.

The Sharks went further ahead in the 46th minute when Covell slotted a penalty goal.

The Bulldogs finally got on the scoreboard in the 59th minute and scored again just before full time, effectively winning the second half by 12-8.

But it was the Sharks' opening onslaught and an all round dominant performance which was the main feature the match. Despite their second half showing, the visitors were never going to win.

The Bulldogs woes have intensified with Sonny Bill Williams limping off in the first half. In addition, forward Corey Hughes may face charges following several incidents throughout the match.

Scorers: SHARKS 26 Tries: Covell, Vagana, Dykes, Peachey Goals: Covell 5/5 BULLDOGS 12 Tries: Ryan, Tonga Goals: El Masri 2/2

Toyota Park Referee: Tony Archer

By the clock: A hot day in the Sutherland Shire which will be taxing on the bigger men. Jason Stevens returning from injury for the Sharks. A huge breeze behind the Sharks in the first half. Kick off from the Bulldogs soon...

0 min: Kick off!

4 min: TRY - Sharks. Winger Luke Covell pulls down a cross field bomb from half back Brett Kimmorley. With the defence looking into the sun, it's easy pickings for Covell to score out wide. Conversion Luke Covell successful. Sharks 6-0

11 min: TRY - Sharks. Nigel Vagana put through by Phil Bailey as the Bulldogs open up. Poor marker defence sees the Sharks making plenty of yards up the middle. Conversion right in front is successful. Sharks 12-0

14 min: NEWS - Bulldogs come close to scoring, only to find the corner post.

17 min: TRY - Sharks. Five eighth Adam Dykes runs through some poor defence before standing up Bulldogs full back Luke Patten to score under the posts. Conversion Covell. Sharks 18-0

19 min: NEWS - Luke Covell intercepts on his own line, saving the try and making a tremendous run of 50 metres.

27 min: NEWS - Sharks almost in for a try but an attempted intercept from Bulldogs five eighth Braith Anasta saves the day. Sharks get the feed into the scrum but the Bulldogs win the ball following some confusion at the scrum base from the Sharks.

30 min: NEWS - Bulldogs' forward Sonny Bill Williams limps off the field.

HALF TIME: Sharks 18-0 Sensational end-to-end stuff just before the break underscores what has been a match played at a fast pace. Better play from the Bulldogs in the back end of the first half but for the most part they have played messy football and have a lot of work to do. The Sharks have been finding plenty of room to move as their opposites seem unable to put them on the deck. Kimmorley in great form with the boot while Covell and fullback David Peachey are cutting loose.

Second half underway...

42 min: TRY - Sharks. Peachey scores under the posts after some brilliant support play up the middle of the park. Conversion Covell. Sharks 24-0

46 min: PENALTY GOAL - Sharks. Sharks 26-0

52 min: NO TRY - Bulldogs ruled to have knocked on, a touch judge call.

55 min: NEWS - Bulldogs winger Matt Utai makes a great run of over 50 metres but not enough support. In the nest ruck, the Bulldogs pass the ball into touch.

59 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Andrew Ryan scores and the Bulldogs are finally on the board. Conversion Hazem El Masri from in front. Sharks 26-6

66 min: NO TRY - Sharks denied after a tremendous piece of support play with Peachey, Simmons and Vagana getting involved, only to see the last pass ruled forward.

70 min: NEWS - For the third time in the match, Canterbury's Corey Hughes has delivered a cheap shot, this time a head-high. A penalty to Sharks but no report, no warning and no send off.

78 min: TRY - Bulldogs. A consolation try with Willie Tonga scoring after a break down the left side from winger Trent Cutler. Conversion El Masri is spot on. Sharks 26-12

FULL TIME: Sharks 26-12 An untidy second half but the Sharks far too good. Set up in the first 17 minutes as the home side ran away to an 18-0 lead. After that, the task was too much for the Bulldogs.

----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - N Vagana (Sharks) 2 - D Peachey (Sharks) 1 - A Dykes (Sharks) -----------------------------------------