The Cronulla Sharks have turned on the style in their final home game of the year with a 38-12 win over the Newcastle Knights at Shark Park.
Cronulla had a prime opportunity to head up and potentially inside the NRL top 4 if they could get a big win over the Newcastle Knights who themselves werelooking to take a second straight top 8 scalp after their win over the Panthers last weekend.
Newcastle were up for the contest early on and were matching it with the Sharks early on though a mounting penalty count was pressuring the Knights defensive stabiity. The Sharks took the lead after 10 minutes when Valentine Holmes added a penalty goal to open the scoring ater Danny Levi was ruled to have pulled back a Cronulla support player.
The Sharks added to their lead nearly 15 minutes later when Josh Dugan scored the opening try of the match. The opening try came off some good work from Kyle Flanagan who took a run and attracted the Knights defenders before a floating ball from Townsend out to Lee was plucked out of the air by Dugan who had a free passage to the try line.
The visitors then hit back soon after when Nick Meaney took advantage of a ricocheted kick from Mitchell Pearce and got himself down and low to score next to the posts and after Sio's conversion the gap was back to just two points. A mounting penalty count took it's toll on the Knights and eventually they had to defend a man down with Aiden Guerra sent to the sin bin by referee Jon Stone as the Knights discipline didn't improve. The Sharks took advantage of the extra man on the stroke of half time when the Sharks used the overlap and Chad Townsend got the defence interested and found a good pass out to Edrick Lee to score his first.
The hosts kept up their momentum when they again were able to get on the outside of the Knights defence and Sosaia Feki got the ball down in the corner albeit with a rapidly loosening grip on the ball in the corner although the bunker was happy with the put down.
The momentum was all with the Sharks who were making metres easily up the field however it was the Knights who were able to score the next set of points when Daniel Saifiti strolled through some weak defence from the Sharks and scored under the posts untouched. The hit back from the Sharks was almost instantaneous from the Sharks when Matt Prior got an offload away to James Segeyaro who turned on the second phase play and a rampaging Valentine Holmes who scored running through the middle untouched.
Cronulla were making metres with ease and turning on the style as well as Edrick Lee scored his second when he was on the end of a tap back from Josh Dugan who had to make two efforts at tapping the Townsend kick backwards. The Sharks finished the game in style when again they were able to again get on the outside of the Knights defence down the left before an outside of the boot kick into the centre of the field found Chad Townsend who scored under the posts and Edrick Lee capped off the game with a conversion from right in front.
Next week, the Sharks take on the Bulldogs to try and lock in their top 4 spot whilst the Knights say farewell to the 2018 season with a game against the St George Illawarra Dragons.