The Cronulla Sharks have caused a major upset tonight beating the defending premiers St George Illawarra 16-10 at Toyota Stadium. Despite the wet conditions the Sharks played with great discipline in attack and with brutal aggression in defence which stunned the Dragons.
The referees blew 15 penalties for the night 8 of them going to the Dragons which did not phase the Sharks who were very impressive defensively all over the park. The game didn't start well for the Sharks as they kicked out on the full from the kick off which left everyone thinking if this was gonna be the same Sharks outfit which got belted in the nations capital last weekend, all this did was show a glimpse of the solid defence which was too come forcing an error from the Dragons right away.
The first try of the night came in the 15th minute of the match off the back of nicely placed cross field kick from John Morris which was deflected back by John Williams for Ben Pomeroy to grab his first try of tonight.
The Dragons suffered another blow 3 minutes later when Weyman limped off with a suspected groin injury, he wasn't to be seen for the rest of the night depleting the Dragons bench with 60 minutes to go.
Following many errors from a sloppy Dragons outfit a Jamie Soward 40/20 in the 35th minute gave the visitors something to smile about but the smiles were soon wiped off the faces by the touch judge who disallowed a Morris Try claiming Morris had put his foot into touch before planting down what looked to be an amazing try.
The Sharks kept plugging away towards the half time break and were rewarded in the best way possible as the siren went off as Nathan Gardner denied the chance of a certain two points to take the quick tap and a play later Anthony Tupou strolled over from a nice inside ball to give the Sharks a 10-0 lead at halftime.
With the upset well and truly on the table the Sharks did not want to lose focus in the second half and applied the pressure kicking a penalty goal in the 49th minute then a minute later Ben Pomeroy scored a benefit of the doubt try where their were questions of whether he planted the ball down legally.
There was a slight glimmer of hope when nightingale scored off a great kick in and behind the Sharks defence to score the Dragons first points of the night to make it 16-4 Sharks with 13 minutes to go.
The Sharks defence was looking to hold the Dragons to just 4 points for the night but in the 78th minute the Dragons set up an entertaining finish scoring a try through Kyle Stanley off his own kick, but it wasnt to be for the Dragons who passed over the sideline the next set to end the match.
Cronulla looked a shadow of the team that lost 40-12 to the Canberra Raiders in round one with a 16-10 win over the Dragons.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16 defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 10
National Rugby League - Round 2 - Monday March 21, 2011 7:00pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Chris James
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Adam Gee
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10 St George Illawarra Dragons 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Paul Gallen
2 Points - Ben Pomeroy (2 Tries)
1 Point - Anthony Tupou (1 Try)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (16)
Tries: Ben Pomeroy (2), Anthony Tupou
Conversions: John Williams (1/3)
Penalty Goals: John Williams (1/1)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (10)
Tries: Jason Nightingale, Kyle Stanley
Conversions: Jamie Soward (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's a very wet Toyota Stadium for tonights match. Sharks have some changes with Pomeroy coming onto the run on side for Dean Collis who is replaced by Johnny Mannah on the bench while the Dragons have one change with Kyle Stanley coming onto the bench for Mitch Rein.
1 min: Sharks kick off out on the full Penalty to the Dragons on halfway
3 min: Very sloppy start with an error from each team to start the match
5 min: Sharks knock on 2 metres away from Dragons line. Dragons working it out from their own line
7 min: A Promising set from the Sharks ends in another error which is not helped by giving the Dragons a penalty one tackle later
11 min: Both teams have had possession inside their oppositions twenty metre zone but the slippery conditions getting the better of both sides
13 min: Sharks apply the pressure forcing a goal line drop out getting a repeat set
15 min: TRY
Nice crossfield kick from John Morris is deflected back by Williams then pounced on by pomeroy for the first try of the night.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4-0
18 min: Weyman limps off the field injured lets hope its not too serious
21 min: News from sideline is Weyman will not be back tonight with a suspected groin injury but nothing confirmed.
24 min: Dragons starting to apply some pressure on the Sharks defence forcing their second line drop out in a row can the sharks hold out
24 min: Penalty count is 6-2 Dragons
25 min: Ben Hornby drops the ball for the Dragons letting the Sharks defence off the hook once again
28 min: Fien throws a forward pass to give the Sharks a chance of further points. Error count Dragons 6-3 Sharks
32 min: Dragons survive another raid on their line due to poor last tackle options from the Sharks
35 min: 40/20 kick from Jamie Soward! Just what the Dragons needed can the Sharks great defence tonight hold
36 min: NO TRY Brett Morris nearly scores a spectacular try but a great call from the touch judge sees his foot an inch on the line.
39 min: Possible Dragons Try..... NO TRY Matt Cooper stripped the ball out in a two man tackle in the Sharks in goal to plant the ball down
40 min: TRY
Great Try just on the half time siren for the Sharks! Dragons gave away a penalty roughly 25 metres away from their try line, referee marches the penalty ten metres for descent. Gardner takes the quick tap instead of the penalty goal option turns out to be a good gamble when Tupou charges over the line from an inside ball.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10-0
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10-0 St George Illawarra Dragons
There is a sniff of an upset here tonight at Toyota Stadium with the Sharks defending extremely well and with plenty of aggression in the wet conditions, Whilst the Dragons have been very sloppy and unable to provide much pressure in attack due to simple errors.
41 min: Second half underway will the Sharks go on to win a massive upset
46 min: Sharks off to a good start in the second half completing their first three sets without fail while the Dragons are trying to work their way back into this match
47 min: Great kick by the Sharks forcing a repeat set and the first real chance of points in the second half. The Dragons give away a penalty 30 metres from their try line. Sharks opt for the penalty goal attempt
49 min: PENALTY GOAL
Penalty goal to the Sharks extends the lead to 12 points
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12-0
50 min: TRY
Benefit of the doubt Try given to the Sharks that comes off a high kick from Graham which is dropped by Brett Morris and is then grounded controversially by Pomeroy who grabs a double! John Williams misses a simple conversion
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16-0
54 min: First error of the second half goes to John Morris
59 min: Sharks continue to muscle up in defence but Dragons have a full set of six inside the Sharks half
60 min: Great defence from the Sharks. Pomeroy and Williams put Cooper into touch frustrating the Dragons once again it looked a certain try. Sharks at the moment deserving this 16 point lead.
62 min: Nathan Gardner hit high by Gasnier. There has been a few high tackles here tonight luckily no injuries as a result
65 min: Gardner knocks on from a Dragons kick. Dragons form a scrum 10 metres out from the Sharks line
67 min: TRY
Jamie Soward puts a nice kick in and behind the defensive line for Nightingale who out sprints The Sharks defense and puts it down for the Dragons first try tonight. Sowards conversion is no good,
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16-4
71 min: Jeremy Smith is off injured with a suspected Sternum problem will not be back tonight
75 min: Five minutes to go in this match the Sharks are on the brink of a great victory here tonight
78 min: Sharks crowd is very vocal as the Dragons doing everything for one last four pointer
79 min: Possible Dragons Try to Kyle Stanley checking for a knock on
79 min: TRY
Try is given as kyle Stanley scores off his own grubber kick which was deflected off a sharks defenders foot then off Stanley's chest then planted over the line. Sowards conversion is through the posts.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16-10
80 min: Full Time! Sharks have completed an amazing upset here tonight 16-10 over the Dragons. Put it down to great defence, disciplined wet weather footy in attack and a sloppy display from the Dragons.