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A mammoth effort from a Gallenless Cronulla outfit saw the Sharks thrill a strong Toyota Park crowd with their third win on the trott seeing off South Sydney with a 26-4 victory.
The Sharks appeared to have a perfect start scoring from their own kick off, but Souths were saved by Souths tackling themselves into to touch with ball in hand second earlier to give Cronulla a scrum instead. Cronulla continued to mount pressure on the South Sydney taking control of the game from the early stages.
Sharks grabbed first points in the 16th minute with Luke Douglas muscling over to score after being given the ball from Morris out of dummy half. Sharks continued to stamp their authority over the Rabbitohs crossing again in the 22nd with Best carrying defenders over the line to score after being given the ball from the back of the scrum.
Sharks continued to dominated for the rest of the half but this was not reflected in the score line with only an 8 nil lead until the 37th minute when Chad Townsend made up for his 2 missed conversions by adding a 4 pointer of his own. Townsend stretched over for his first try in the NRL and did it next to the posts to help extend the Cronulla lead by 6.
Cronulla weren't however done for the half and crossed again in the 40th minute with Tupou offloading to put Wright in to score in the corner. Townsend converted and Cronulla took a 20 nil lead into the interval.
South Sydney started the second half well and spent some time in attack early. Cronulla helped them get back into the game with a couple of errors, it was however a Corrigan bust through the middle which helped them to cross for the first points of the second forty with Merritt crossing the whitewash in the 46th minute.
South Sydney attempted to stage a fight back and were helped by Cronulla conceding several penalties, but it was to be Cronulla who put on the next points to put the game out of reach in normal time after opting to take the 2 from a penalty right in front in the 68th minute, stretching the lead out to 18.
Souths proceeded to challenge the Cronulla line but the defence held firm to make certain a victory for the home side. With the victory wrapped up, Cronulla still had their 2011 point differential to work on and added a further 4 points to it in the 79th minute. The ball went through hands before being given to Matthew Wright to score in the corner to cap off a 26-4 victory against the Rabbitohs.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 4
National Rugby League - Round 17 - Sunday July 3, 2011 2:00pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Chris James
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and David Abood
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20 South Sydney Rabbitohs 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Luke Douglas (1 Try)
2 Points - Chad Townsend (1 Try, 2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
1 Point - Nathan Gardner
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (26)
Tries: Luke Douglas, Colin Best, Matthew Wright (2), Chad Townsend
Conversions: Chad Townsend (2/5)
Penalty Goals: Chad Townsend (1/1)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (4)
Tries: Nathan Merritt
Conversions: Chris Sandow (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the discussion on Sunday footy - Sharks v Rabbitohs on our forum - click here... or on Twitter! Make sure you follow us on @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlcrosou to your tweets about tonight's game!
In the Toyota Cup curtain raiser Cronulla defeated South Sydney 16-6.
TEAM NEWS: Kade Snowden is a late withdrawal from the Sharks ruled out with a neck injury, John Mannah will start in his place and Josh Cordba will be added to the bench. Souths are as per the side named on Tuesday.
1 min: Cronulla kick off and almost score a try from it, but the touch judge rules that South Sydney have a foot into touch whilst trying to gather it. So the try gets called back for a scrum to Cronulla 10 out.
2 min: Forward pass ruled against Cronulla right on the line.
5 min: We're seeing some hunger here early with both sides making good metres coming out of their own ends.
6 min: Wade Graham makes a big bust right through the middle, but can't get the ball onto support after being stopped by a brilliant try stopper from Rhys Wesser.
8 min: PENALTY to the Sharks to invite them right back onto the attack.
9 min: Another forward pass ruled against the Sharks giving South Sydney a scrum 30 out from their own line.
10 min: Wade Graham in some trouble getting attention from a trainer as a scrum packs.
11 min: Jason Bukuya in some trouble too now in a tackle,but shakes it off to play the ball.
11 min: Ben Ross with a charge down attempt, tries to chase it but can't get a hold of it
12 min: Cronulla turnover possession at halfway with an error.
13 min: Souths attacking the Cronulla line for the first time in the match, but John Sutton kicks it right over the sideline.
14 min: Another charge down attempt from the Bunnies, this from Luke and another repeat set for the Sharks.
17 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Luke Douglas given the ball out of dummy half and just muscles over to score. Conversion from Townsend unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4-0
20 min: Sharks looking well on top now as Souths hand them a 20 metre restart.
20 min: Sandow fails to collect a high bomb and Cronulla are gifted a scrum 10 out from the South Sydney line.
23 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Set play off the back of the scum and Best carries defenders over the line with him to score his 99th career try. Conversion from Townsend unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8-0
25 min: Cronulla with great go forward making good metres off every hit up.
26 min: Souths get their tackle count restarted when Cronulla are ruled to have played at a ball propelling it forward.
26 min: Souths botch a good opportunity with a forward pass 40 out from the Cronulla line.
27 min: Scrum PENALTY against South Sydney.
27 min: Back to back PENALTIES now as Souths concede another one 40 out from their line.
28 min: Cronulla earn a repeat set at the South Sydney line by forcing a line drop out.
29 min: Cordoba loses it, giving South Sydney a scrum.
30 min: PENALTY to the Rabbitohs to help them into attacking range.
31 min: Luke Douglas does well cleaning up at the back and Sharks have possession.
32 min: PENALTY to the Sharks to help them back into attacking range.
32 min: Merritt does well to intercept an offload at the line and halt a strong Cronulla attack.
35 min: Wesser leaps for a bomb and cannot take it cleanly and Cronulla are right on the attack from 15 out.
36 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Sharks TRY.
38 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Townsend given the ball from dummy half and stretches over to score his first try in in first grade right next to the posts. Townsend converts his own try.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14-0
38 min: PENALTY to Cronulla on the kick off return.
40 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Wonderful effort running the ball on the last Tupou has a stab at the line but can't get through the three defenders on him, so offloads instead and Matthew Wright flies in to score in the corner. Conversion by Townsend successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-0
40 min: That will be the half and a scoreline which reflects the run of play with Cronulla leading the Rabbitohs 20 nil.
41 min: South Sydney boot the second half into play.
43 min: Good start to the second half for the Bunnies, repeat sets putting them right on the attack, but the Sharks do even better to stave them off.
44 min: Cronulla creating their own opportunities with Tagatese making a big bust through the middle.
45 min: Sharks squander their opportunity with Pomeroy dropping a cross field bomb.
46 min: Corrigan makes a big bust through the middle for South Sydney, Townsend cuts him off with a good tackle but Souths are now right on the attack.
48 min: TRY
TRY to the Rabbitohs! Sandow flops a ball out to Merritt to fly through on the right flank. Conversion from Sandow unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-4
49 min: PENALTY to the Rabbitohs to help them off their try line.
51 min: Strange last tackle play from the Bunnies does absolutely nothing for them and Sharks get a 20 metre restart.
52 min: PENALTY against the Sharks for hands in the play the ball again to help Souths off their try line.
54 min: Now seeing some strong defence and attack from South Sydney.
55 min: Nathan Merritt penalised for an in goal indiscretion.
56 min: Forward pass ruled against Colin Best at the South Sydney line. 57 min: Huge shoulder charge from Wright stops a right flank raid.
60 min: Sharks reasserting control over the game now.
63 min: PENALTY to South Sydney.
64 min: Good on line defence from Cronulla forces a change over.
66 min: Incredible sequence of play sees Gardner toe the ball into great field position to start the set for Cronulla in the South Sydney half.
67 min: PENALTY to the Sharks right in front of the sticks.
68 min: PENALTY GOAL
Sharks shoot for the two and Townsend collects them.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 22-4
71 min: Scrum to the Sharks for an opportunity to put this game to rest.
72 min: Wade Graham almost collects a bomb in goal but bats it out and the Rabbits have a 20 metre tap.
73 min: PENALTY to South Sydney who need some quick scoring to fight their way back into this.
74 min: Great on line defence from the Sharks will have all but wrapped this game up.
75 min: Sandow busts through the middle, but Cronulla defence clean him up.
77 min: Sharks continue to be too good for the Bunnies here.
78 min: Souths hand the Sharks an opportunity to put some more points on gifting them a scrum 35 out from the South Sydney line.
80 min: TRY
TRY to the Sharks! Cronulla seal the game with a beautiful try through hands putting Matthew Wright in in the corner. Conversion attempt from Townsend unsuccessful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 26-4
80 min: Sharks take a big victory defeating South Sydney 26-4.