Cronulla has snapped a six-game losing streak to defeat St George-Illawarra by 13-12 in a Golden Point thriller at Netstata Jubilee Stadium tonight.
Sharks halfback Chad Townsend was the hero, kicking a field goal following a see-sawing battle in the local derby, where the Sharks were extremely fortunate to get the win after St George failed to go away despite Cronulla dominating large periods of the match. Cronulla however gave the Red V not one but two unlikely opportunities to snatch a remarkable victory, however five-eighth Corey Norman failed to convert either of his field goal attempts.
Sharks fullback Will Kennedy was the difference for the Sharks, scoring a try and setting up another in a superb performance from the fullback which gave his side a long overdue win following the dramatic sacking of their former coach John Morris earlier in the season.
The Dragons were resilient and considering the amount of talent on the sideline, they couldn't be too disappointed with the effort, it was just their execution at crucial times that let the side down when it mattered.
Cronulla dominated early proceedings, camping themselves on the Dragons line early, when winger Connor Tracey crashed over for the first try of the match following some neat work from Chad Townsend and Will Kennedy off a set play. Townsend converted and the Sharks jumped out to an early lead.
Dragons prop Paul Vaughan was then sent to the Sin Bin following a high shot on Sharks centre Will Chambers. Cronulla however made multiple handling errors during this period and failed to capitalise on the Dragons being down to 12 men.
Both sides were sloppy in the first half, but the Dragons looked likely to hit back when fullback Cody Ramsey beat multiple defenders to break the line. Sharks winger Mawene Hiroti then came across in cover defence and collected Ramsey high and was sent to the Sin Bin. Norman then kicked the penalty goal to get his side on the scoreboard and narrow the Sharks lead to 6-2 at halftime.
The Dragons got on the board first in the Second Half however, when Hunt and Norman combined in midfield to send rookie winger Max Feagai over to score in the corner. Norman missed the conversion from out wide and it was 6 all at halftime in the local derby.
The high tackles continued after the break, when Sharks centre Josh Dugan was marched to the Sin Bin following a very lazy swinging arm that collected Dragons centre Billy Burns across the nose. The Dragons took advantage of the extra man almost immediately, when Ben Hunt kicked high for his winger Max Feagai on the last and the rookie winger leapt high over the Sharks defence to score his second try. Norman again missed from out wide and it was 10-6 with 20 minutes remaining.
With the game poised, it was Matt Moylan and Will Kennedy who combined, to first force a repeat set and then secondly put the Sharks in front when Kennedy slid over in the corner of a neat Moylan pass to tie up the scores. Townsend then converted from out wide to give his side a 12-10 lead.
The game again turned when Sharks backrower Teig Wilton was penalised for a crusher tackle on Dragons prop Paul Vaughan with six minutes remaining and Jack Bird converted the penalty to tie things up at 12 all and it looked likely to go down to the wire.
The Sharks then looked set to ice the game with minutes remaining before Chad Townsend saw his field goal attempt charged down and regathered by Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough. The Dragons then made their way upfield, however Corey Norman's shot to win the game went wide.
Cronulla then got ultimate stage fright when winger Mawane Hiroti knocked on off the first tackle deep inside their own half. This gave the Dragons another chance to seal an unlikely victory, however again Norman sprayed his shot wide and the game then went to Golden Point.
Sharks winger Hiroti then turned villain to hero when he made a 50 metre dash upfield. Redemption was then sealed for the Sharks winger, when Chad Twonsend then nailed the match winning field goal to seal a dramatic Golden Point win.
Cronulla will hope this win can re-set their season, as they now travel to Coffs Harbour next weekend when they play the Titans next Sunday. St George will need to dust themselves off and hope for some better luck in Round 12, when they head to Bankwest Stadium next Friday night for their clash with the Wests Tigers.