The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have bounced back in a big way from their horror loss to Penrith last week, flogging the Warriors 46-10 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Gosford.
The Sharks started very well, opening the coring inside 5 minutes after a probing Chad Townsend found a rampant Braden Hamlin-Uele who scored the first try for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. It looked like the Warriors would hit back straight away with David Fusitu'a doing some amazing work to get the ball inside for teammate Patrick Herbert. All he had to do was ground the ball, but he couldn't handle it and knocked on in goal.
Predictably, the Sharks went 90 metres to score off the next set in a 12 point turnaround. Will Kennedy dashed past a lazy Peta Hiku and 6 minutes later Ronaldo Mulitalo made the lead 16. Shaun Johnson was having a happy afternoon with the boot, kicking 3 from 3 inside the opening 16 minutes.
The Warriors gained a slimmer of hope ater a successful captains challenge gave them prime attacking position, and not for the first time. Unlike all those other times though, they were able to convert it into points. Ken Maumalo finished off a sweeping play and made the score 18-4 and the kiwi franchise a slight chance to remain competitive.
It shortly evaporated however. Shaun Johnson got across the stripe against his former club because of the Warriors failing to clean up a grubber kick, and to add salt into the wound he celebrated like he'd won the comp before lining up the conversion, which was successful.
3 minutes into the second half, Cronulla produced a contender for try of the year. Blake Green put in a grubber that Shaun Johnson was able to rake in and used the goal post as a shepherd to beat the wave of Warriors defenders. He then produced some trademark Shaun Johnson magic the Warriors would've been familiar with before linking up with Sione Katoa. He turned Peta Hiku inside out and dived to put it down like superman, making the lead 26 just 43 minutes into the game.
Katoa picked up a double and so did Jesse Ramien over the next 22 minutes and with not long left the Sharks looked to have secured a top 8 spot on points differential. With a minute to go however, the Warriors regained possession from a short kick off and were able to chalk up a consolation try through Wayde Egan. Tuivasa-Sheck converted to consign the Sharks to 9th position on percentages.
The Sharks have a date with local rivals the Dragons next week in a clash that could prove pivotal in who scrapes into the 8, while the Warriors are back at Central Coast and will look to cause a monumental upset against the out of form Roosters.