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The Cronulla Sharks have withstood a second half revival from the Newcastle Knights, winning 34-26 at EnergyAustralia Stadium today.
After racing away to a 12-nil lead, the Sharks were pegged back by the Knights but went into half time with a more than handy 24-10 lead.
The Sharks opened the second stanza solidly and with a 30-10 lead, the match appeared to be in the bag.
But the Knights had other ideas, scoring the next three tries. After 58 minutes, the Sharks were hanging onto a 30-26 lead and appeared to be on the ropes.
In the final 20 minutes, a number of chances were on offer for both sides with the Sharks eventually falling over the line just before fulltime.
Scorers: KNIGHTS 26 Tries: Quinn 2, K Gidley, Brown, M Gidley Goals: K Gidley 3/4 defeated by SHARKS 34 Tries: Rieck 2, Simmons, Nutley, Bird, Vagana Goals: Hilder 5/5
By the clock: A beautiful day in Newcastle for these two sides vying for 8th position in the competition. Newcastle coach Hagan leaving his Origin duties to coach the side today
0 min: Kick off! And the kick off by Bird for the Sharks is a mighty kick and a mighty mistake going dead. Penalty to the Knights on halfway
2nd min: NEWS - Dumas (Sharks) receiving attention for a heavy knock to the head from a Knights player's hip bone right on the Knights try line, one tackle left in the set. Dumas leaves on a stretcher with a neck injury that looks serious. Sullivan replaces Dumas
6th min: TRY - Sharks. Simmons scores. A goal line drop out for the Sharks is taken up well resulting in Simmons easily through the gap. Try converted by Hilder. Sharks 6-0
11 min: TRY - Sharks. Danny Nutley scores under the posts. Conversion Hilder. Sharks 12-0
15 min: NEWS - Sharks dominating possession with 67% of the ball so far.
22 min: TRY - Knights. Kurt Gidley steps off the left and scores 12 in from touch. Follows back to back set for the Knights. Conversion K Gidley is OK. Sharks 12-6
27 min: NEWS - Possession favouring Sharks 53%
29 min: TRY - Sharks. reg Bird scores in good position. Conversion Hilder. Sharks 18-6
35 min: TRY - Sharks. Nigel Vagana scores. The Sharks carving up the Knights up the middle. Conversion Hilder. Sharks 24-6
37 min: TRY - Knights. Anthony Quinn scores out wide after a flat bullet pass from Kurt Gidley. Conversion K Gidley is wide. Sharks 24-10
HALF TIME: Possession now fairly even with Sharks enjoying 52%. Tackles: 137-all. Mistackles: 7-all Errors: Knights 12-5 Completions: Knights 10/18; Sharks 18/21 Penalties: Knights 8-2 Score: Sharks 24-10
Second half underway...
41 min: TRY - Sharks. Matthew Rieck flies through onto a grubber kick to score 12m in from touch. Conversion Hilder is OK. Sharks 30-10
49 min: TRY - Knights. Quinn gets a double following a grubber down the sideline. Wide conversion from K Gidley is successful.
52 min: TRY - Knights. Riley Brown scores a run away try. Conversion attempt 12m in from touch K Gidley misses. Sharks 30-20
58 min: TRY - Knights. Matthew Gidley scores and the home side is coming back with a vengeance. Conversion K Gidley successful. Sharks 30-26
75 min: NEWS - Still no change to score. Both sides have had their chances.
78 min: NEWS - Sharks in possession and slowing it down... should get home.
80 min: TRY - Sharks. Rieck scores out wide as the defence backs off. Conversion attempt Hilder is wide. Sharks 34-26
FULL TIME: The Sharks managing to hold out the Knights after holding a handy lead early on. Full time stats: Possession: Sharks 53% Tackles: Knights 308-270 Mistackles: Knights 16-15 Errors: Knights 18-9 Completions: Knights 26/40; Sharks 33/40 Penalties: Knights 9-4 Score: Sharks 34-26
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - D Nutley (Sharks) 2 - K Gidley (Knights) 1 - M Hilder (Sharks) -----------------------------------------