The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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It only took two tries for the Wests Tigers to assert their dominance over the Cronulla Sharks, as the new look squad gritted out a tough 12-6 victory to open the double header. Both teams appeared evenly matched in defence, with only the Tigers? superior penetration in attack the difference between the teams.
The first half was punctuated by dropped balls by the Sharks. Seemingly every promising break was swiftly followed by a wayward offload or spilt ball. The Tigers, on the other hand, maintained quality possession and were able to apply a great deal of pressure on their opponents.
Tigers? centre Shane Elford always appeared dangerous with the ball, consistently troubling Cronulla?s right flank. His good early form was rewarded when an unfortunate deflection gifted him an early four pointer. It would be forty five minutes before Cronulla would strike back, as young forward Keith Galloway pounced on a loose ball from a bomb. It wouldn?t be enough, however, as Darren Senter bustled his way over from dummy half late in the game to seal the victory for the Tigers.
The only difference between the two sides was attacking ability. Whereas Scott Prince was able to send runners into space, Cronulla?s outside backs were constantly shut down by their opponents? superior defence. David Peachey showed some glimpses of his attacking form of old, but ultimately it wasn?t enough to overcome an evidently more determined Tigers team.
Michael Sullivan?s form was the saving grace for Cronulla. He provided a great deal of spark coming off the bench and took a lot of pressure from Brett Kimmorley.
Sharks Den Player of the Year Points 3. Michael Sullivan 2. Jason Stevens 1. Keith Galloway