The Sharks racked up 30 points in the final 24 minutes of the first half to set up an unassailable 36-6 lead at half-time, setting up a comfortable 48-10 victory over the Cowboys at Kogarah tonight.
Both sides were playing with plenty of vigour to start the match, which resulted in Cronulla crossing early for a try. In just the third minute, the Sharks passed from the right side to the left, where Will Kennedy slotted in to create the extra man, linked with Connor Treacy, who produced a neat draw and pass to Mawene Hiroti who dived over in the left corner to score. Chad Townsend converted from touch.
In the 8th minute, the Sharks were again on the attack when Townsend sent a pass out the back to no one. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow swopped on the loose ball and ran 80 metres to score untouched. Valentine Holmes converted to level the scores.
The Sharks reclaimed the lead in the 14th minute when Townsend, out on the left side with a bunch of players standing around, saw Josh Dugan running a nice line outside the Cowboys winger, so he grubbered through the line and the ball bounced beautifully for Dugan, who regathered and scored in the right corner. Townsend nailed the difficult conversion.
Then with 12 minutes to go in the first half, the Sharks went on a rampage.
Tracey crossed for a try when he spun out of a woeful tackle attempt and dived over in the left corner. Townsend again converted.
In the 34th minute, after the Sharks earnt a repeat set courtesy of a brilliant 40/20 by Blayke Brailey, Chad Townsend got a nice ball to his lead runner Braden Hamlin-Uele, who then got a stunning offload away into the waiting hands of Matt Moylan, who strolled over to score untouched by the sticks. Townsend again converted.
Two minutes later and the Sharks were in again, when Kennedy received the ball wide on the right, ran to the line and passed to Hiroti, who then ran before passing back inside to Kennedy in the clear and he ran 20 metres to score a lovely try. Townsend added the two.
Right on halftime, the Sharks added more points when Townsend's bomb was tapped back by Moylan. Blayke Brailey regathered and quickly toed it ahead to the left corner where Tracey planted the ball for his second try. Townsend converted yet again to give the Sharks a 36-6 lead at the break.
The Cowboys came out looking a little better, albeit briefly, but it was the Sharks who scored first in the 57th minute, when the Cowboys let a Townsend chip bounce and it landed in Teig Wilton's waiting hands before he dived over to score on the left side. Townsend converted.
Just after the hour mark had passed, Cronulla crossed again when Townsend on the right side held up a lovely short ball for Kennedy, who ran onto it at pace and stepped out of a tackle to score again. Townsend kicked his 8th goal of the game from as many attempts.
The Cowboys snared a consolation try with just 3 minutes remaining when Holmes received the ball on the right side, dummied, stepped back in-field and then twisted in the tackle to slam the ball down for a try. Holmes failed to convert his own try.